Earnings Weigh on Futures Ahead of Housing Data


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U.S. stock-index futures fell on Friday as traders reviewed mixed earnings reports from several corporate heavyweights and awaited data on the housing market.

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Today's Markets

As of 8:12 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 41 points to 13444, S&P 500 futures dipped 3.5 points to 1448 and Nasdaq 100 futures slid 4.8 points to 2728.

It has been a busy, and eventful, week for earnings. Several firms posted strong-than-expected results early in the week, helping spur a multi-day rally for Wall Street. However, the sentiment has grown gloomier in recent days. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) shares took a thrashing on Thursday after the search giant's quarterly results that widely trailed estimates were prematurely released during the trading day. Then Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) posted mixed results after the close of trading, pushing shares of the world's biggest software company down by some 2%.

Ahead of the open on Friday, General Electric (NYSE:GE), which is seen as a global bellwether, revealed profits that met expectations and sales that slightly trailed Wall Street's forecasts. Its shares suffered as well in early trading. McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) shares also came under heavy pressure after its earnings per share came in well below expectations as a result of a big negative currency adjustment. The world's biggest burger chain's sales, however, came in better than expectations.

On the economic front, traders will get a look at how the housing market fared in September. Sales of existing, single-family homes are forecast to have fallen to an annualized rate of 4.75 million units from 4.82 million the month prior. The housing market has been showing renewed signs of life recently, with homebuilder sentiment and sales ticking up. However, economists say it will be a long time until the market recovers to where it was before the housing crisis.

In commodities, oil and gasoline prices both climbed. The benchmark crude contract traded in New York rose 22 cents, or 0.24%, to $92.32 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline rallied 1.4% to $2.784 a gallon.

Gold slumped $9.00, or 0.53%, to $1,735 a troy ounce.

Traders were also paying close attention to a two-day European Council meeting that ends on Friday. The group is expected to discuss tighter economic integration among the 17 euro zone countries and the potential for a singular European Union banking supervisor.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.86% to 2552, the English FTSE 100 dipped 0.2% to 5905 and the German DAX slumped 0.51% to 7399.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 rose 0.22% to 9003 and the Chinse Hang Seng edged up 0.15% to 21552.