Futures Inch Up Despite Moody's Downgrades

Published February 14, 2012

| Reuters

Stock index futures edged up Tuesday after upbeat data from Germany offset ratings agency Moody's downgrade of six euro zone countries.

* Late Monday Moody's put the United Kingdom's Aaa rating in jeopardy for the first time and warned it may cut France and Austria as well, while downgrading six euro-zone nations including Spain and Italy.

* But data from Germany suggested that Europe's bulwark economy is picking up pace again. The Mannheim-based ZEW economic think tank's monthly poll of economic sentiment jumped to 5.4 from minus 21.6 in January, well above the consensus forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts for a rise to minus 12.0.

* S&P 500 futures rose 2.1 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 rose 19 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 2.75 points.

* The U.S. Commerce Department releases January retail sales at 8:30 a.m. Economists expect a 0.7 percent month-over-month rise compared with a 0.1 percent rise in December. Excluding automobiles, sales are expected to rise 0.5 percent versus a 0.2 percent drop in December.

* The Labor Department releases import and export prices for January at 8:30 a.m. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a 0.2 percent month-on-month rise in both imports and exports. In the prior month, import prices dropped 0.1 percent and export prices fell 0.5 percent.

* The Commerce Department also issues December Business Inventories for December at 10:00 a.m. Economists expect a monthly rise of 0.5 percent versus a 0.3 percent rise in the prior month

* Boeing Co <BA.N> said it has signed its largest ever commercial airplane order with Indonesia's Lion Air in a deal worth $22.4 billion.

* President Barack Obama and Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping will hold talks on Tuesday that could help boost the international stature of Beijing's leader-in-waiting while testing Obama's ability to balance thorny U.S.-China diplomacy with election-year pressures.

* Apple Inc <AAPL.O> plans to announce a fourth-generation (4G) version of its iPad in the first week of March, a Wall Street Journal report said, citing a person briefed on the matter.

* U.S. and European regulators approved Google Inc's <GOOG.O> $12.5-billion-purchase of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc <MMI.N> and said they would keep a sharp eye on the web search giant to ensure patents critical to the telecommunications industry would be licensed at fair prices.

* Texas Instruments Inc <TXN.O> hired Advanced Technology Resource Group to advise on its sale of factories in Japan and the United States, ATREG said.

* MetLife Inc <MET.N>, the largest life insurance company in the United States, reports quarterly results, and the market is expecting profits to rise to $1.24 per share from $1.14 per share.

* Greece has admitted it still faces a tough job in persuading the European Union and IMF to save it from bankruptcy even after its parliament approved savage extra budget cuts, provoking a night of looting and burning in central Athens.

* U.S. stocks rose on Monday, with the S&P 500 near seven-month highs.

* As earnings season moves into its final stages, 51 companies in the S&P 500 are scheduled to report results this week. According to Thomson Reuters data through Monday, of the 357 companies in the benchmark index that have released results, 64 percent have beaten analyst expectations.

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