Futures down on profit-taking after rally

Markets Reuters

On Thursday, the market soared 3 percent after a long-awaited agreement was struck to help contain the region's two-year debt crisis. The S&P 500 is up more than 13 percent this month, on pace for its biggest monthly gain since October 1974.

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S&P 500 futures fell 7.5 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures lost 61 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 12.50 points.

"Shorter-term indicators, tracking two to four-week shifts, remain overbought, with the S&P 500 nearing its next resistance between 1,290 and 1,300," said Robert Sluymer, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets LLC in New York.

"We continue to believe near-term pullbacks in equities should be relatively shallow, given the bigger intermediate-term trend into year-end appears to be up for stocks."

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ended up 3.4 percent at 1,284.59 on Thursday.

Shares of Merck & Co Inc rose 2 percent to $35 after the No. 2 U.S. drugmaker reported quarterly profit and sales that beat forecasts.

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Chevron Corp, the second-largest U.S. oil company, is expected to show a sharp increase in quarterly profit, boosted by a $500 million gain on the sale of its Welsh refinery and British and Irish marketing assets. Its profit is expected to jump to $3.46 per share from $1.87.

Shares of MF Global Holdings Ltd tumbled 21 percent to $1.14 in premarket trade. Some customers are moving money away from the struggling futures brokerage, hedge fund officials, rivals and analysts said, though the extent of the outflows is unclear.

Shares of Baidu Inc rose 7.5 percent to $148.82 in premarket trade after the top Chinese search engine forecast strong sales above estimates and reported robust quarterly earnings late Thursday.

Shares of Brocade Communications Systems Inc rose 8.8 percent to $44.83 premarket after the Wall Street Journal reported the maker of computer switches and routers for managing data traffic may looking again at prospective buyers.

Samsung Electronics Co overtook Apple Inc as the world's top smartphone maker in the July-September period with a 44 percent jump in shipments and forecast strong sales in the current quarter.

The Commerce Department releases September personal income and consumption data at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT). Economists expect a 0.3 percent rise in income and a 0.6 percent increase in spending. In August, income fell 0.1 percent and spending was up 0.2 percent.

Also at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT), the Labor Department issues its Employment Cost Index for the third quarter. Economists see a rise of 0.6 percent versus a 0.7 percent increase in second quarter.

At 9:55 a.m. EDT (1355 GMT), the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers will release its final October consumer sentiment index. Economists expect a reading of 58.0, compared with 57.5 in the preliminary October report.

(Reporting by Angela Moon; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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