* Consumer sentiment, industrial output data on tap
* Morgan Stanley higher after results
* Intel falls after results, outlook
* UPS slumps after outlook
* Futures up: Dow up 25 pts, up S&P 1.8 pts, Nasdaq 1 pt
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Jan 17 U.S. stocks were poised to open
little changed on Friday, in the wake of earnings from Morgan
Stanley and General Electric, and ahead of data on the housing
market and consumer sentiment.
General Electric Co lost 2.5 percent to $26.53 in
premarket trading, after gaining 0.6 percent earlier. The
conglomerate posted a rise in quarterly net profit on Friday,
helped by strength in its businesses selling oil pumps and jet
Morgan Stanley rose 1.5 percent to $32.48 before the
opening bell after the Wall Street bank reported a sharp fall in
quarterly profit as it was hit by $1.2 billion in legal bills
but adjusted earnings beat market estimates.
Shares of Intel Corp shed 4.2 percent to $25.43
after its earnings missed expectations by a penny in the fourth
quarter due to weak spending on servers. The chipmaker gave a
lukewarm forecast for first-quarter revenue.
After surging 30 percent in 2013, largely due to stimulus
from the Federal Reserve, the S&P 500 started the year on
a weak note but recovered recently to set a new record high
Wednesday. It is now roughly flat for the year.
"The Fed has well and truly finally signaled they will be
exiting the market, the timing of that we don't really now. But
it's the beginning of the end, meaning financial repression will
finally come to an end," said Keith Bliss, senior vice-president
at Cuttone & Co in New York.
"It's time to get back to evaluating things and putting some
values on companies and the market at large based on fundamental
economic data, fundamental company data and earnings. That is
why you are seeing this waxing and waning in the stock market
Housing starts fell less than expected in December, as data
showed a 9.8 percent drop to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate
of a 999,000-unit pace. Economists polled by Reuters had
expected starts to fall to a 990,000-unit rate.
United Parcel Service Inc slid 4 percent to $96.50
in premarket after the world's No.1 package delivery company
estimated quarterly profit below analysts' expectations, partly
due to a shorter U.S. holiday season.
S&P 500 futures rose 1.8 points Friday 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
gained 25 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 1
NII Holdings jumped 25 percent to $3 in premarket
after the company said it had reached a deal with Apple Inc
to bring the iPhone to its Nextel Brazil operations.
Industrial output data for December is expected at 9:15 a.m.
(1415 GMT). Expectations call for a 0.3 percent increase versus
a 1.1 percent gain in the prior month.
At 9:55 a.m. the preliminary Thomson Reuters/University of
Michigan Surveys of Consumers for January is due. Estimates call
for a reading of 83.5, up from the 82.5 previously reported.