* Burger King profit jumps, shares follow
* Herbalife shares soar after Icahn discloses ownership
* Futures off: Dow 11 pts, S&P 1.5 pts, Nasdaq 2.5 pts
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Feb 15 U.S. stock index futures dipped
on Friday, continuing a trend this week of thin volume and tight
moves, with the S&P 500 seen struggling to extend its streak of
weekly gains to seven.
The S&P 500, up 6.7 percent so far this year, is facing
strong technical resistance near the 1,525 level. But investors,
expecting further gains in the quarter, have held back from
locking in profits.
With more than $158 billion in deals announced so far in
2013, merger and acquisition activity has given support to the
equity market as it points to healthy valuations and bets on the
"No retracement of this move is positive; it shows
underlying support for this market," said Art Hogan, managing
director of Lazard Capital Markets in New York.
He said the flurry of mergers and acquisitions should be
seen as a tailwind for the market.
"You don't go into M&A if you don't have a positive
outlook," Hogan said.
S&P 500 futures fell 1.5 points and were 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 fell 11
points, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 2.5 points.
Traders will eye the Federal Reserve's release of industrial
production and capacity utilization data for January at 9:15
a.m. ET (1415 GMT), and the Thomson Reuters/University of
Michigan Surveys of Consumers preliminary February consumer
sentiment index at 9:55 a.m. (1455 GMT).
Consumer sentiment is expected to be slightly higher at 74.8
in February, compared with 73.8 in January, while production and
capacity utilization are both seen ticking slightly higher.
Herbalife shares jumped 18.4 percent in premarket
trading, a day after billionaire investor Carl Icahn said in a
regulatory filing that he owned 14 million shares, or 13
percent, of the company that sells nutrition and dietary
supplements, and was ready to put it in play.
Burger King Worldwide shares jumped 3.7 percent in
premarket trading after it reported a 94 percent rise in
Kraft Foods Group said fourth-quarter revenue
likely declined 10.7 percent from a year earlier, largely due to
reductions in trade inventories. Its shares fell 2.3 percent in
light premarket trading.