US STOCKS-S&P 500 eyes best winning streak in eight years

Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:06am EST

* S&P 500 poised to rally for an eighth straight day

* ECB's Draghi sees euro zone recovery; German confidence up

* Procter & Gamble profit improves

* Microsoft down after earnings

* Futures up: S&P 3.6 pts, Dow 32 pts, Nasdaq 9.75 pts

By Edward Krudy

NEW YORK, Jan 25 (Reuters) - U.S. stock futures climbed on Friday and the S&P 500 was poised for an eighth day of gains, its longest winning streak in eight years, buoyed by rosy earnings from Procter & Gamble amid a backdrop of sturdy corporate results.

The equity market was also boosted by agreement in Washington to extend the government's borrowing power through mid-May, encouraging signs of recovery in the global economy, solid corporate earnings, and seasonal inflows into stocks.

Those factors helped the S&P 500 rally for a seventh day on Thursday to a five-year peak. Still, the index struggled to climb convincingly above 1,500, a level it surpassed briefly Thursday for the first time since December 2007.

"We are seeing a very broad-based rally and the ingredients are still in place" for gains to continue, said Steve Goldman, principal at Goldman Management in Short Hills, New Jersey. "This is the lift-off phase and it's still significant."

Procter & Gamble, the world's top household products maker, said quarterly profit soared past expectations and raised its sales and earnings outlook for the fiscal year. Shares were up 2.1 pct at $71.88 in premarket trading.

S&P 500 futures rose 3.6 point 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 rose 32 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 9.75 points.

If the S&P 500 rises for an eighth day, it will be its longest winning streak since late 2004, when it enjoyed a nine-day run.

Pointing to a rotation out of bonds, U.S. 30-year Treasury bonds traded more than a point lower in price on Friday, with yields touching session highs at 3.10 percent.

"You have had more confidence from fund managers to provide more allocations to equity markets," which looked more attractive than bonds or cash, said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management.

Recent company earnings have been encouraging. Thomson Reuters data through early Thursday showed that of the 133 S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings so far, 66.9 percent exceeded expectations, more than the 65 percent average over the past four quarters.

Microsoft Corp reported lower quarterly profit on Thursday as Office software sales slowed ahead of a new launch, offsetting a solid but unspectacular start for its Windows 8 operating system and sending the company's shares down 0.8 percent in premarket trading.

Apple stepped up audits of working conditions at major suppliers last year, discovering multiple cases of underage workers, discrimination and wage problems. The shares, which fell 12 percent Thursday after disappointing earnings, edged up 0.5 percent to $452.90.

German business morale improved for a third consecutive month in January to its highest in more than half a year, providing further evidence that growth in Europe's largest economy was gathering speed after contracting late last year.

Echoing a more positive tone in Europe, ECB President Mario Draghi said on Friday he expects the euro zone economy to recover later this year, and that financial market improvements had not yet trickled into the general economy.

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