* Investors focus on Fed comments, indexes near highs
* Facebook rises in premarket, trading could be volatile
* Weekly jobless claims, October Chicago PMI both on tap
* Futures down: Dow 27 pts, S&P 4.3 pts, Nasdaq 14.75 pts
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Oct 31 U.S. stock index futures edged
lower on Thursday, suggesting the market's rally may have run
out of gas, as investors continued to digest recent comments
from the Federal Reserve.
* Facebook Inc rose 3.4 percent to $50.70 in
premarket trading, a day after reporting strong growth in its
mobile advertising business. Trading could be volatile as the
company said it didn't plan to boost the frequency of ads shown
to users, comments that erased the social networking giant's
steep gains after the market closed Wednesday.
* The central bank said Wednesday it had a weaker growth
outlook for the U.S. economy, though it held its stimulus
program steady for now, as expected. Its views
sparked an equity market decline, with the S&P 500
snapping a four-day streak of gains.
* The Fed's stimulus has fueled the market's gains this
year, boosting the S&P by more than 23 percent so far in 2013 to
hit a series of record highs. However, that advance has come
amid weaker-than-expected economic data and an earnings season
marked by weak revenue, leading many analysts to call for a
pullback. In a pronounced consolidation, the S&P could find
support at its 14-day moving average of 1,740.39, which is 1.3
percent below its current level.
* Earnings and data will continue to be in focus, with
weekly jobless claims on tap, along with the October Chicago
Purchasing Managers Index. While weak data could spur worries
about the pace of economic growth, bullish data may spark
concerns the Fed will scale back stimulus sooner than expected.
* Claims are seen falling by 11,000 to 339,000 in the latest
week, while the Chicago PMI is seen falling to 55 from 55.7 last
* S&P 500 futures fell 4.3 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 slid 27
points and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 14.75 points.
* Expedia Inc soared 19 percent to $59.40 a day
after reporting third-quarter earnings that beat expectations,
while Starbucks Corp dipped 1.6 percent to $79.50 in
light premarket trading a day after giving a disappointing
* Of 313 companies in the S&P 500 that reported earnings
through Wednesday morning, 68.4 percent topped Wall Street
expectations, above the 63 percent beat rate since 1994 and the
66 percent rate for the past four quarters, according to Thomson
* Revenue performance has been mixed, however, with 53.7
percent of S&P 500 companies beating expectations, well below
the 61 percent average since 2002, but above the 49 percent rate
for the last four quarters.
* Exxon Mobil Corp, MasterCard Inc and
American International Group are among the companies
scheduled to report earnings Thursday.
* According to two sources familiar with the matter, US
Airways Group and American Airlines are considering
giving up takeoff and landing slots at Washington's Ronald
Reagan National Airport to win regulator approval of their $11
* U.S. stocks fell Wednesday, with trading volatile after
the Fed's less optimistic outlook on growth. Both the Dow and
S&P had hit record intraday highs earlier in Wednesday's