Stock Futures Falter as Traders Parse Corporate News


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U.S. stock-index futures hovered in a tight range as traders mulled news from several corporate heavyweights and a batch of data on wholesale inflation.

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Today's Markets

As of 8:56 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed 6 points to 15399, S&P 500 futures slipped 0.5 point to 1670 and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 1.8 points to 3057.

The Dow and broader S&P 500 rallied to record closing highs on Thursday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reaffirmed his commitment to keeping the central bank's accommodative monetary policy alive for the "foreseeable future."

J.P. Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), the biggest U.S. bank by assets, kicked off earnings season for financial companies by revealing profits and revenues topping analyst expectations. Shares were little changed in early trading. Fellow banking giant Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) also posted better-than-expected results.

However, United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS) cuts its full-year outlook Friday, sending shares of the package delivery company skidding more than 4% in pre-market trading.

Earnings season ramps up next week with a slew of big-name companies across just about every sector posting earnings.

On the economic front, the Labor Department reported producer prices rose 0.8% in June from May, compared to Wall Street’s expectations they would rise 0.5%. It was the biggest gain since September. Excluding food and energy components, prices were up 0.2%, also higher than expectations of a gain of 0.1%.Wall Street has been paying especially close attention to inflation data since the Federal Reserve has a dual mandate to keep unemployment and inflation in check. However, some analysts are beginning to worry about excessively low inflation.

Very low inflation "will allow the Fed to be more patient than the market assumes in beginning the rate hike process even in the face of significant labor market improvements," economists at Deutsche Bank wrote in a note to clients on Friday.

A reading on consumer sentiment from Reuters and the University of Michigan is due out at 9:55 a.m. ET. The gauge is forecast to have edged up slightly to 85 in early July from 84.1 last month.

Elsewhere, gold prices slumped after posting four-straight days of gains. The precious metal recently fell $9.20, or 0.73%, to $1,271 a troy ounce. U.S. crude oil prices climbed 53 cents, or 0.51%, to $105.45 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline jumped 0.88% to $3.048 a gallon.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.43% to 2693, the English FTSE 100 gained 0.36% to 6567 and the German DAX climbed 0.9% to 8232.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 edged up 0.23% to 14506 and the Chinese Hang Seng dropped 0.75% to 21277.

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