February 26, 2010 / 1:21 PM / 7 years ago

US STOCKS-Futures slightly higher as economy in focus

3 Min Read

* GDP, home sales, sentiment data on tap

* AIG reports loss, shares fall

* Snowstorms disrupts much of Northeast U.S.

* Futures: Dow up 26 pts, S&P up 0.6, Nasdaq falls 1

* For up-to-the-minute market news, click [STXNEWS/US] (Adds AIG results, analyst comment, updates market activity)

By Edward Krudy

NEW YORK, Feb 26 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were slightly higher on Friday as investors looked ahead to a raft of data, including economic growth, home sales and manufacturing after a disappointing week so far for the economy.

A second estimate of gross domestic product from the Commerce Dept before the market opens is expected to confirm the U.S. economy grew at a rate of 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter. The release comes days after weak consumer sentiment and housing data rattled investor confidence.

Confidence will be tested again later Friday, with the release of the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey, followed by a report on existing home sales from the the National Association of Realtors.

"With a plethora of economic data, it's really hard to say we're going to have a good read of what the market looks like in the first hour of trade. We could have a tale of two markets here," said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co in New York.

S&P 500 futures SPc1 rose 0.6 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 added 26 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures NDc1 fell 1 point.

American International Group Inc (AIG.N) reported an $8.9 billion quarterly loss, hurt by charges related to asset divestments, an increase in commercial insurance loss reserves and a tax-related allowance. The shares fell 3 percent to $26.68 in premarket trade. For details, see [ID:nN26148455]

The Institute for Supply Management-New York releases its February index of regional business activity before the bell, while the ISM Chicago February index of manufacturing activity in the Midwest is due just after the open.

Heavy snowfall and high winds in much of the Northeastern United States disrupted traffic, making it hard for commuters to get to work. Some brokerages said their staff were being delayed by the storm. (Reporting by Edward Krudy; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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