NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. futures were slightly higher as banks in the eurozone soaked up more than €500 billion in cheap loans from the European Central Bank, easing fears about a Lehman-like crisis in the region.
Futures for the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
were up 13 points, or 18.9 points above fair value, at 13,010. Futures for the
were up 1.7 points, or 2.3 points above fair value, at 1373. Futures for the
were up 4.8 points, or 3.6 points above fair value, at 2637.
Stocks are headed higher for the last trading day of February, with the Dow having closed above 13,000 Tuesday for the first time since May 2008. Still, the index is more than 8% short of its all-time high. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 has broken through 1370, a level at which technical analysts said the index was finding resistance.
"Everyone seems to be plum tuckered out," said Ed Yardeni, economist and market strategist at Yardeni Research. "That's one of the reasons why New York Stock Exchange volume is so low." Yardeni notes that the S&P 500 is trading above its 200-day moving average. "
It's a bit extended, but not overly so."
The ECB said it lent a total of €530 billion to 800 financial institutions in Europe as part of its second round of long-term refinancing. Economists had expected the banks to soak up a sum in the €500 billion ballpark.
Germany's DAX was up 0.37% while London's FTSE was down 0.08% on Wedensday. Japan's Nikkei Average settled up 0.01% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.52%.
Futures ticked a few points higher after the U.S. government said that the economy grew at a pace of 3% in the fourth quarter, upwardly revised from its first estimate of 2.8%. Economists had thought the growth reading would stay unchanged, according to Thomson Reuters.
The Chicago purchasing managers index is expected to come in at 61.5 in February. The report will be released at 9:45 a.m.
Chief Ben Bernanke delivers his semi-annual speech before Congress at 10 a.m. The central bank then releases its Beige Book, or report of economic conditions, at 2 p.m.
2012 Stock Predictions and Outlook
In corporate news,
, the warehouse retailer, earned $394 million, or 90 cents a share, in its fiscal second quarter, up from $348 million, or 79 cents, a year earlier. Total revenue jumped 10% to $23 billion. Analysts expected Costco to earn 87 cents a share on revenue of $22.83 billion. Shares were up 1.8% to $86.80.
, the office-products retailer, reported fourth-quarter net income of $283.6 million, or 41 cents a share, on sales of $6.46 billion. Staples was expected by analysts to earn 41 cents a share in the fourth quarter on revenue of $6.45 billion. Shares were popping 3% at $16.48.
reported fourth-quarter profit and revenue below Wall Street's expectations. It also lowered its revenue and cash flow outlook for fiscal 2012. For the three months ended Dec. 31, First Solar posted an adjusted profit of $110 million, or $1.26 a share, on net sales of $660 million, down more than 30% on a sequential basis. Analysts were expecting earnings of $1.53 a share on sales of $779.3 million. First Solar reduced its fiscal 2012 revenue view to between $3.5 billion and $3.8 billion from a prior projection of $3.7 billion to $4 billion. The stock was plunging 6.9% to $33.89.
reported fourth-quarter net income of $24.3 million, or 29 cents a share, missing the consensus forecast of 32 cents. Revenue came in at $219 million, beating the $206 million expected by analysts, on average. Shares were down 8.8% to $17.92.
plans to lay off 275 employees from its webOS software division, according to reports. CEO Meg Whitman in December opened up the company's webOS operating system to outside developers.
said they received Wells notices from the
Securities and Exchange Commission
and could face civil claims tied to sales of mortgage-backed securities. According to reports,
is expected to announce Wednesday that it too received a Wells notice. The notices generally indicate the SEC plans to bring charges or take other enforcement action against a company.Shares of Goldman Sachs were sliding 1.2% to $115.70, while JPMorgan shares were up 0.5% to $39.40.
April oil futures were up 38 cents to $106.93 a barrel. In other commodities, April gold futures were down $1.40 to $1787 an ounce.
The dollar index was about flat. The benchmark 10-year Treasury was up 4/32, diluting the yield to 1.936%.
-- Written by Chao Deng in New York
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