* Durable goods rise but ex-transport figure disappoints
* Consumer sentiment, wholesale inventories data due
* Amazon, Microsoft, Zynga rally after results
* Futures: Dow off 7 pts, S&P down 1 pt, Nasdaq up 7 pts
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Oct 25 U.S. stocks were set to open
little changed on Friday, holding near record highs, supported
by results from companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and UPS.
The S&P 500 ended Thursday just 0.15 percent away from its
record close, in a 23-percent rally so far this year supported
by Federal Reserve stimulus and low interest rates.
Expectations that the Fed will continue its $85 billion a
month bond-purchase program will likely provide a floor for
stock prices into 2014.
"The market has focused on good news stories, be it revenue
or earnings, so there will be a positive impact from Microsoft
and Amazon," said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm
LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
"The backdrop is the lack of competition to equities from
fixed income and this extended period of low interest rates," he
said. "Investors feel they have no alternative but to be in
Meckler said there was a lack of critical view on data and
even on companies with stocks at lofty valuations, including
Netflix, Tesla and even Amazon.
"There is not a lot of doubt globally there is a recovery;
the real question is 'has the rise in the market discounted that
S&P 500 futures fell 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 lost 7
points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 7 points.
United Parcel Service posted a bigger quarterly
profit Friday and said it expects online sales to boost holiday
volume. Its shares rose 2 percent in premarket trading.
Amazon shares gained 7.8 percent in premarket
trading a day after the online retailer posted a narrower
quarterly loss and grew sales by a better-than-expected 24
Microsoft Corp cruised past Wall Street estimates
for quarterly profit and revenue Thursday, helped by strong
sales of its Office and server software to businesses, and
shares rose 6.3 percent in premarket trading.
Zynga said it expects a full-year profit after
reporting better-than-expected third-quarter results due to
cost-cutting and a renewed focus on mobile games and core
franchises. Shares jumped 12 percent in premarket trading.
Dow component DuPont said Thursday it will spin off
its titanium dioxide unit into a separately traded public
company within 18 months, yielding to intense pressure from Wall
Street to divest the volatile business. Shares gained 1.4
percent in premarket trading.
New orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods outside
of transportation equipment fell in September, possibly due to
uncertainty over government spending, while a surge in aircraft
orders helped boost the headline durable goods number by 3.7
percent last month, more than expected.
Data due later in the day include October consumer sentiment
at 9:55 a.m. (1355 GMT), and wholesale inventories for August at
10:00 a.m. (1400 GMT).