Thursday, July 23, 2009

U.S. Stock Futures Fall on Microsoft, American Express, Amazon

By Matt Townsend

July 24 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stock futures fell, indicating the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index will slump after climbing to an eight-month high, as Microsoft Corp., American Express Co. and Inc. posted disappointing quarterly results.

Microsoft, the biggest software maker, retreated 7 percent on lower profit and sales than analysts estimated. American Express slipped 4.6 percent after saying earnings decreased as the recession made it harder for cardholders to keep up with payments. lost 6.6 percent following price cuts that caused sales to miss forecasts.

S&P 500 futures expiring in September declined 0.4 percent to 965.10 at 7:31 a.m. in Tokyo. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped 31 points, or 0.3 percent, to 8,960. U.S. stocks surged yesterday, sending the Dow above 9,000 for the first time since January, as EBay Inc., Ford Motor Co. and AT&T Inc. posted better-than-estimated results and home resales increased more than forecast.

“At these levels in the market, there’s not a lot of room for error,” said Mark Freeman, a money manager at Westwood Management Corp. in Dallas, which oversees $7.5 billion. “Anything that deviates brings about a reevaluation by the market.”

Yesterday, the S&P 500 climbed to the highest level since President Barack Obama was elected on Nov. 4, advancing 2.3 percent to 976.29 at 4:06 p.m. in New York yesterday. The Dow gained 188.03 points, or 2.1 percent, to 9,069.29, the highest since one session after Election Day. The Nasdaq Composite Index surged 2.5 percent to 1,973.6 for a 12th straight gain, its longest streak since 1992 and highest level since October.


EBay rallied 11 percent as its earnings signaled consumers’ appetite for online commerce is starting to recover. Ford jumped 9.4 percent after topping analyst estimates by paring expenses and adding market share. AT&T added 2.6 percent as new customers of Apple Inc.’s iPhone bolstered profit. D.R. Horton Inc. led all 13 stocks in an index of homebuilders higher as sales of existing homes increased for a third straight month. The Dow exceeded 9,000 on Jan. 6.

“With the round number of 9,000 not being there for a significant amount of time, it’s encouraging,” said Michael Koskuba, a New York-based fund manager at Victory Capital Management Inc., which oversees $44 billion. “It’s really a result of companies reporting better-than-expected news. That’s encouraging given that we are in a difficult economic environment.”

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