US STOCKS-Wall St to open little changed on mixed earnings

Thu Apr 17, 2014 8:57am EDT

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* Jobless claims rise less than expected in latest week

* Google, IBM shares fall a day after posting earnings

* Morgan Stanley shares rally after results

* Futures up: Dow 15 pts, S&P 3 pts, Nasdaq up 12 pts (Recasts, updates prices)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, April 17 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to open little changed Thursday, following three days of gains, as underwhelming results from tech giants Google and IBM were offset by upbeat quarterly numbers from the likes of Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and General Electric.

* Supporting equities, the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose less than expected last week and remained near its pre-recession levels, offering further evidence of the economy's underlying strength.

* Google shares fell 2 percent in premarket trading and IBM lost 4.3 percent after both reported underwhelming earnings late Wednesday. Their results raised questions about those of other tech-sector companies.

* Shares of Morgan Stanley, however, rose 3 percent after it reported a rise in first-quarter earnings, while Goldman Sachs shares gained 2.3 percent after the bank reported an 11 percent drop in profits but beat expectations.

* General Electric posted a 12 percent rise in overall industrial profits and its shares gained 2.2 percent in premarket trading.

* S&P 500 e-mini futures rose 3 points and fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract, pointed to a flat open. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 15 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 12 points.

* Wall Street rallied 1 percent on Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said persistently low inflation poses a more immediate threat to the U.S. economy than rising prices, stressing that the U.S. central bank would be delivering policy stimulus for some time to come.

* China's Weibo Corp will be valued at $3.46 billion when it goes public on the Nasdaq on Thursday, as it priced at the lower end of expectations on concerns about the microblogging service's slowing user growth and the country's highly censored media environment.

* SanDisk increased its outlook for gross margins in 2014 as fast-growing sales of its high-end solid-state drives helped offset volatile prices for memory chips, sending its shares up 6.4 percent in premarket trading.

* Chipotle Mexican Grill reported an 8 percent rise in quarterly profit as sales surged at established restaurants, driving its shares up 3.5 percent in premarket trading.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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