US STOCKS-Wall Street to open flat after GE, Morgan Stanley results

Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:11am EST

* Consumer sentiment, industrial output data on tap

* Morgan Stanley higher after results

* Intel falls after results, outlook

* UPS slumps after outlook

* Futures up: Dow up 25 pts, up S&P 1.8 pts, Nasdaq 1 pt

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Jan 17 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were poised to open little changed on Friday, in the wake of earnings from Morgan Stanley and General Electric, and ahead of data on the housing market and consumer sentiment.

General Electric Co lost 2.5 percent to $26.53 in premarket trading, after gaining 0.6 percent earlier. The conglomerate posted a rise in quarterly net profit on Friday, helped by strength in its businesses selling oil pumps and jet engines.

Morgan Stanley rose 1.5 percent to $32.48 before the opening bell after the Wall Street bank reported a sharp fall in quarterly profit as it was hit by $1.2 billion in legal bills but adjusted earnings beat market estimates.

Shares of Intel Corp shed 4.2 percent to $25.43 after its earnings missed expectations by a penny in the fourth quarter due to weak spending on servers. The chipmaker gave a lukewarm forecast for first-quarter revenue.

After surging 30 percent in 2013, largely due to stimulus from the Federal Reserve, the S&P 500 started the year on a weak note but recovered recently to set a new record high Wednesday. It is now roughly flat for the year.

"The Fed has well and truly finally signaled they will be exiting the market, the timing of that we don't really now. But it's the beginning of the end, meaning financial repression will finally come to an end," said Keith Bliss, senior vice-president at Cuttone & Co in New York.

"It's time to get back to evaluating things and putting some values on companies and the market at large based on fundamental economic data, fundamental company data and earnings. That is why you are seeing this waxing and waning in the stock market right now."

Housing starts fell less than expected in December, as data showed a 9.8 percent drop to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of a 999,000-unit pace. Economists polled by Reuters had expected starts to fall to a 990,000-unit rate.

United Parcel Service Inc slid 4 percent to $96.50 in premarket after the world's No.1 package delivery company estimated quarterly profit below analysts' expectations, partly due to a shorter U.S. holiday season.

S&P 500 futures rose 1.8 points Friday 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 gained 25 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 1 point.

NII Holdings jumped 25 percent to $3 in premarket after the company said it had reached a deal with Apple Inc to bring the iPhone to its Nextel Brazil operations.

Industrial output data for December is expected at 9:15 a.m. (1415 GMT). Expectations call for a 0.3 percent increase versus a 1.1 percent gain in the prior month.

At 9:55 a.m. the preliminary Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers for January is due. Estimates call for a reading of 83.5, up from the 82.5 previously reported.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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