Futures Take a Breather After Two-Day Rally


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U.S. stock-index futures were little changed Wednesday after two-straight days of big gains for Wall Street as traders mulled corporate earnings and a round of housing data.

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Today's Markets

As of 8:38 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed 19 points to 13472, S&P 500 futures gained 3.5 points to 1453 and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 4.8 points to 2761.

The markets have posted a strong showing over the past two sessions in an earnings-fueled rally. Indeed, the broad S&P 500 has tacked on some 1.8% in its best two days in more than a month.

Traders had yet another round of corporate earnings to parse through. Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) posted a slim third-quarter profit, amounting to $0 a share. The second-biggest U.S. bank by assets said its total revenues came in at $20.4 billion. It wasn’t immediately clear as to whether the results were comparable to estimates of a loss of 7 cents a share on $21.89 billion in sales.

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) revealed adjusted earnings of 60 cents a share, beating estimates of 49 cents. Meanwhile, fellow technology heavyweight IBM (NYSE:IBM) said it earned $3.62 a share, excluding items, edging out estimates by a penny.

PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) revealed quarterly earnings of $1.21 a share, topping estimates of $1.16. The beverage and snack maker's sales were $16.65 billion, shy of the $16.9 billion analysts expected.

Results from American Express (NYSE:AXP) and eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) are due after the close of trading.

Wall Street also received a batch of data on the U.S. housing market. The Commerce Department reported housing starts rose 15% to an annualized rate of 872,000 units in September from August, compared to expectations of 770,000. Housing permits jumped 11.6% to an annualized rate of 894,000 units, also topping forecasts of 810,000.

"If there was any doubt that the housing market was undergoing a recovery, even a modest one in the face of the terrible 2008 decline, those doubts should be erased by now," Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG, wrote in a note to clients.

"Builder sentiment has rising, mortgage rates have been falling, purchase activity is higher and housing starts have increased in four of the last six months."

Oil prices were little changed ahead of the weekly inventory report from the Energy Department. The benchmark crude oil contract in New York rose 21 cents, or 0.23%, to $92.30 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline ticked up by 0.01% to $2.846 a gallon.

In metals, gold rose $5, or 0.29%, to $1,751 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 gained 0.5% to 2561, the English FTSE 100 climbed 0.49% to 5900 and the German DAX drifted higher by 0.14% to 7386.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 rallied 1.2% to 8607 and the Chinese Hang Seng rose 0.11% to 2301.