US STOCKS-Futures higher as Kraft ups outlook, Baidu jumps

Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:46am EST

Related Topics

* Kraft raises 2009 forecast

* Baidu jumps as Google mulls China retreat

* China monetary tightening weighs on commodities

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By Edward Krudy

NEW YORK, Jan 13 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Wednesday as a positive outlook from Kraft Foods Inc revived hopes of a strong earnings season, and Chinese Internet search engine Baidu Inc surged on news rival Google Inc may pull out of China.

Google's (GOOG.O) threat to withdraw from China because of censorship and cyber attacks on its systems pushed shares of rival Chinese search engine Baidu (BIDU.O) up 15,3 percent to $445.79. Google's shares fell 1.9 percent to $579.31 [ID:nN12210451]

Kraft KFT.N raised its 2009 profit forecast late on Tuesday and said it was well-positioned to deliver strong performance, with or without a merger with Cadbury. Kraft shares rose 2.1 percent in premarket trade to $29.90. [ID:nN12129095]

"The market is anticipating a fairly supportive earnings season for current pricing," said Peter Kenny, managing director at Knight Equity Markets in Jersey City, New Jersey.

S&P 500 futures SPc1 rose 2.6 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 DJc1 rose 12 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures NDc1 added 2.25 points.

Concern about Chinese moves to cool the economy by increasing reserve requirements at local banks dented commodity prices, as copper hit a two-week low and crude oil fell to around $80 per barrel, threatening to weigh on shares of U.S. commodity and industrial companies.

The U.S. Federal Reserve releases its Beige Book of regional economic conditions at 2 p.m. (1900 GMT], and investors will scour the data for insights into the Fed's thinking on the economy. (Editing by Padraic Cassidy)

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