NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures were little changed Friday after Wells Fargo (WFC) kicked off fourth-quarter bank earnings with a mixed report and China sparked concerns that it will hold off on easing policy after reporting higher-than-expected inflation.
China's annual consumer price inflation accelerated to a seven-month high of 2.5% year over year in December, from 2% in November, much of it due to a sharp rise in food inflation during the month.
Meanwhile, data showed that the U.S. trade deficit widened to a seven-month high in November.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were unchanged, or 0.22 points below fair value, at 13,406. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 0.75 points, or 1.13 points above fair value, at 1467. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 1.25 points, or 0.27 points above fair value, at 2738.Wells Fargo reported better-than-expected earnings of $5.1 billion on revenue of $21.9 billion, beating adjusted estimates of $4.82 billion and $21.3 billion, respectively. However, net interest margin fell 10 basis points, missing some estimates. Shares were down 1.3% in premarket trading. The Census Bureau reported Friday that the U.S. trade deficit widened to $48.7 billion in November from a revised $42.1 billion in October. The prior October deficit estimate was $42.2 billion. Economists, on average, were expecting a deficit of $41.3 billion for November. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that December import prices, excluding oil, fell 0.1% in December after declining 0.2% in November. Export prices, excluding the agriculture component, edged down 0.2% after November was revised to a decline of 0.8% from a fall of 0.7%. At 9:30 a.m., Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Plosser will speak on the economic outlook at New Jersey Economic Leadership Forum in Somerset, N.J. At 2 p.m., the Treasury Department will release Treasury budget data for December. Its monthly budget report for November showed a deficit of $172.1 billion. European markets were trading off highs after the Chinese inflation data. The FTSE 100 in London was up 0.2%, while the DAX in Germany was up 0.05% Hong Kong's Hang Seng finished down 0.39%. The Nikkei Average in Japan advanced 1.4% after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a massive spending package. Gold for February delivery was falling Friday by $9 to $1,669 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while February crude oil contracts were down 49 cents at $93.33 a barrel. The benchmark 10-year Treasury was up 2/32, lowering the yield to 1.894%. The dollar was up 0.1%, according to the U.S. dollar index. In corporate news, American Express (AXP) said Thursday it was cutting 5,400 jobs, or about 8.5% of its work force, and would take fourth-quarter restructuring charges of $742 million. Shares were down 0.86%. Chevron (CVX) said Thursday that fourth-quarter earnings would be "notably higher" than third-quarter profit, getting a lift from bigger gains on asset sales and more oil and gas production. Shares were up 0.75%. Apple's (AAPL) Phil Schiller, the tech giant's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, reportedly nixed rumors swirling about a cheaper iPhone in an interview with The Shanghai Evening News. Shares were off 0.55%. Boeing's (BA) 787 Dreamliner jet suffered a cracked cockpit window and an oil leak on separate flights in Japan on Friday, Reuters reported. Earlier this week, an All Nippon Airways 787 flight in Japan was canceled after the crew discovered an error message related to the plane's braking system. The latest mishap brings to five the number of incidents the Dreamliner has suffered this week. Shares were falling 1.54%. Ford (F) said it plans to hire 2,200 workers in 2013 to fill jobs in areas such as product development, manufacturing and IT. Shares were up 0.65%. J.C. Penney (JCP) shares were tumbling more than 4.5% after UBS downgraded the stock to sell from neutral amid concerns about the company's turnaround plans. Research In Motion (RIMM) shares were down 1.85% as Blackberry users complained about connection problems. -- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.
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