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Stock Futures Mixed Ahead of Confidence Data

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures were trading mixed Friday as investors cheered stronger-than-expected growth in China and anticipated a strengthening of U.S. consumer confidence data, and as General Electric (GE) and Morgan Stanley (MS) shares advanced after their fourth-quarter earnings beats.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 8 points, or 16.98 points above fair value, at 13,549. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 1 point, or 1.16 points above fair value, at 1476. Futures for the Nasdaq were down 7.75 points, or 7.90 points below fair value, at 2732, as Intel (INTC) shares declined after the chip behemoth issued a downbeat guidance.

General Electric posted fourth-quarter earnings of 44 cents a share on revenue of $39.3 billion, compared with the average analyst estimate of 43 cents a share on revenue of $38.74 billion, as five of the seven industrial segments achieved double-digit earnings growth. Shares were gaining more than 3% in premarket trading.

"The outlook for developed markets remains uncertain, but we are seeing growth in China and the resource rich countries," said CEO Jeff Immelt.

Morgan Stanley swung to profit in the fourth quarter, beating expectations on better-than-expected equity trading and stronger performance from its wealth management unit. Shares were up more than 6%.

In after-hours trading Thursday, Intel exceeded analysts' fourth-quarter earnings estimates but issued guidance for the first quarter and full year 2013 below Wall Street views. Shares were skidding close to 6% in premarket trading Friday.

Major U.S. stock averages rallied Thursday, with the S&P 500 soaring to a five-year high, as better-than-expected economic reports outweighed disappointing quarterly results from Bank of America (BAC) and Citigroup (C).

The optionsXpress Equity Team said Thursday was "a win" for bulls, but that financials are in "a different boat. With the banks having mixed results, it looks like this sector could be in for a bit of a consolidation."

At 9:55 a.m. EST, the University of Michigan consumer confidence index is expected to have risen to 75 in January from 72.9 in December.

"The only number we really have coming is consumer confidence and this is a number that obviously is an important number because consumers represent 70% of our GDP," said Doreen Mogavero, founder of Mogavero Lee & Co. and a veteran NYSE floor member. Mogavero said she'll be watching that number closely.

The FTSE 100 in London was rising 0.55%, while the DAX in Germany was down 0.17%.

The Asian markets got a nice boost from a better-than-expected China gross domestic product figure of 7.9%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng settled up by 1.12%, and the Nikkei in Japan rose by 2.86% as the yen declined on expectations of more central bank easing.

Gold for February delivery was down 90 cents at $1,689.90 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while February crude oil futures were down 5 cents at $95.89.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was up 5/32, diluting the yield to 1.865%. The dollar was up 0.15%, according to the U.S. dollar index.

AT&T (T) said Thursday it would record a $10 billion fourth-quarter charge related to its pension and benefit plans. Shares were down 0.69%.

American Express (AXP) posted a 47% decline in fourth-quarter net income, as the credit card issuer incurred charges related to restructuring costs and other expenses. Shares were off more than 1%.

Adjusted earnings of $1.09 a share topped Wall Street estimates.

Johnson Controls (JCI) shares were slumping more than 2.5% after the company reported a profit decline and gave a downbeat outlook.

American Greetings (AM) was popping more than 9% after CEO Zev Weiss sweetened his buyout bid for the company to $17.50 a share from $17.18 a share.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.



>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

Stock quotes in this article: ^DJI, ^GSPC, ^IXIC, AM, INTC, GE, T, AXP, MS, JCI 

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