US STOCKS-Futures flat before data, with S&P near record high

Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:34am EDT

* Futures: Dow off 2 pts, S&P off 1 pt, Nasdaq up 0.5 pt

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, March 15 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Friday ahead of a flurry of economic data, with the S&P within 2 points of an all-time closing high.

* Due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT) are the February consumer price index and the Empire State Manufacturing survey for March.

* Economists in a Reuters survey expect a 0.5 percent rise in CPI, against an unchanged reading in January. Excluding volatile food and energy items, CPI is seen up 0.2 percent compared with a 0.3 percent rise in January. The Empire State survey is expected to show a reading of 10 for March compared with 10.4 in February.

* Encouraging labor market data helped the Dow Jones Industrial Average extend its winning streak to 10 days on Thursday, while the benchmark S&P index finished just shy of its all-time closing high of 1,565.15.

* Improving economic data and expectations the Federal Reserve will continue its easy monetary policy have helped boost the Dow by nearly 11 percent and the S&P by 9.6 percent this year so far, with no major pullbacks.

* S&P 500 futures shed 1 point and were slightly below 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 dipped 2 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 0.5 point.

* Industrial production and capacity utilization data for February are due at 9:15 a.m. (1315 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey expect a 0.4 percent rise in production and a reading of 79.3 percent for capacity utilization.

* Later at 9:55 a.m. (1355 GMT), the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary March consumer sentiment index will be released. A reading of 78.0 is expected compared with 77.6 in the final February report.

* The Federal Reserve told Goldman Sachs Group Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co that they must fix flaws in how they determine capital payouts to shareholders, but still approved their plans for share buybacks and dividends.

* A Senate report also alleged JPMorgan ignored risks, misled investors, fought with regulators and tried to work around rules as it dealt with mushrooming losses in a derivatives portfolio.

* JPMorgan shares dipped 2 percent to $49.98 in light premarket trading. Rival Bank of America rose 3.8 percent to $12.57 before the opening bell.

* Ulta Salon slumped 11.9 percent to $77.88 in premarket trading after the beauty products retailer forecast first-quarter profit below Wall Street estimates, despite strong results.

* European shares were little changed, holding near recent highs, thanks to central bank stimulus and an improving U.S. economy on what could be a choppy trading day due to a big options expiry.

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.