* Best Buy tumbles after holiday sales results, outlook
* Goldman Sachs edged up after earnings
* Initial jobless claims, CPI data on tap
* Futures: Dow off 32 pts, S&P down 3.8 pts, Nasdaq down 2
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Jan 16 U.S. stocks were set for a
modestly lower open on Thursday indicating the S&P 500 will
retreat from its most recent all-time high, as investors
grappled with the latest batch of corporate earnings and
After a lackluster start to the new year on concerns stock
valuations may be extended, the S&P 500 has rallied 1.6
percent over the past two sessions to set its first record high
since Dec. 31.
Economic data pointed to an economy that continues to grow
at a slow, but steady pace.
The consumer price index increased 0.3 percent after being
flat in November while the core CPI, which strips out volatile
food and energy prices, rose only 0.1 percent, slowing from a
0.2 percent gain in November which suggested underlying
inflation is muted.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 2,000
to a seasonally adjusted 326,000 and claims for the prior week
were revised to show 2,000 fewer applications received than
previously reported, indicating a sharp slowdown in job growth
in December was likely to be temporary.
"We've made a nice run and the market is entitled to
consolidate and use sort of a 'wait-and-see' attitude as far as
earnings are concerned," said Terry Morris, senior equity
manager for National Penn Investors Trust Company in Reading,
Earnings are due from 12 S&P 500 components on Thursday.
Goldman Sachs was flat $178.75 and BlackRock Inc shares
gained 3.1 percent to $322.50 in premarket trade after
However, Citigroup Inc dropped 2.5 percent to $53.60
after its quarterly results.
S&P 500 futures fell 3.8 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 declined
32 points and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 2 points.
Data on manufacturing and the housing market is due later in
the session at 10 a.m. (1500 GMT).
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's gauge of manufacturing
activity in the Mid-Atlantic region for January is expected to
show a reading of 8.6 versus 6.4 in the prior month. The
National Association of Home Builders housing market index for
January is expected to show a 58 reading, equal to December's.
Best Buy Co Inc shares plunged 30.4 percent to
$26.16 in premarket trade after the No. 1 consumer electronics
chain reported a drop in holiday sales and forecast a
bigger-than-expected decline in quarterly operating margins.
Dow component UnitedHealth Group Inc reported a
higher fourth-quarter profit and the addition of 170,000
members, and said 2014 earnings would improve as well. However,
shares of the largest U.S. health insurer lost 1.1 percent to
$74 in premarket trade
CSX Corp lost 6.4 percent to $27.37 before the
opening bell after the railroad late Wednesday posted a smaller
fourth-quarter profit on weak coal volume.
Apollo Global Management LLC said it would buy CEC
Entertainment Inc, the parent of Chuck E Cheese
restaurant chain, for about $948 million. CEC shares jumped 13
percent to $54.70 before the opening bell.