Earnings Weigh on Futures, But Data Cut Losses


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Worries about corporate earnings weighed on U.S. stock-index futures on Friday, but slightly better-than-expected economic data helped keep the losses in check.

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Today's Markets

As of 8:35 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 47 points to 13008, S&P 500 futures dipped 3.5 points to 1405 and Nasdaq 100 futures slumped 1.8 points to 2647.

The markets have struggled this week, with the broad S&P 500 pointing to a 1.8% loss as of the close of trading on Thursday. With earnings season in full swing, corporate reports continued to be in focus.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), the world's biggest publicly-traded company, posted fiscal fourth-quarter earnings after the closing bell Thursday of $8.67 a share -- falling short of expectations of $8.75 a share. The iPhone maker's sales of $36 billion narrowly topped forecasts of $35.80 billion. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company's iPhone sales figures edged out estimates, but iPad sales widely missed expectations. Shares were little changed in early trade.

Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), the online retail behemoth, reported a much wider quarterly loss than was anticipated and revenue that was shy of estimates as well. Merck (NYSE:MRK) weighed in ahead of the opening bell in New York with mixed results.

"We might be able to cope with one big name disappointment at the moment, but having both Apple and Amazon fail to live up to expectations is apparently more than investors can bear," Chris Beauchamp, a market analyst at IG, wrote in an email.

On the economic front, the Commerce Department said the U.S. economy grew at an annualized pace of 2% in the third quarter, better than estimates of 1.9% and a 1.3% growth rate in the second quarter.

A closely-watched report on consumer sentiment from Reuters and the University of Michigan was on tap for 9:55 a.m. ET.

In commodities, oil futures fell after rising for the first day in six. The benchmark contract traded in New York fell 53 cents, or 0.63%, to $85.51 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline slumped 0.34% to $2.667 a gallon.

Gold slumped $9.70, or 0.57%, to $1,703 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.43% to 2473, the English FTSE 100 dipped 0.68% to 5765 and the German DAX slipped 0.38% to 7173.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 sold off by 1.4% to 8933 and the Chinese Hang Seng slid 1.2% to 21546.