Premarket futures were forecasting a lower open for stocks in New York Friday after Thursday's big rally, following the week's pattern of violently volatile trading. Futures for the S&P 500 were down 26 points at 915 and were 34 below fair value. Nasdaq futures were lower by 44 points at 1279 and were 41 short of fair value. On Thursday, stocks staged a rally in the final hour of an erratic session, as traders examined a mass of earnings statements and discouraging economic data. Trouble in the financials persisted. Bond insurer Ambac ( ABK), along with some of its competitors, was working to petition the Treasury Department so that it could sell troubled assets to the government, according to a report by Bloomberg. As earnings season hit full stride, Capital One ( COF) posted a third-quarter profit that missed analysts' expectations. Earnings from the tech sector also were in the spotlight. IBM ( IBM) said it would meet full-year estimates after reporting increased third-quarter profit on cost reductions and strong international sales. Meanwhile, Internet search firm Google ( GOOG) beat estimates for the third quarter and said that its business could withstand a recession. Sony Ericsson, a joint venture between Sony ( SNE) and Ericsson ( ERIC), reported a third-quarter loss on restructuring charges. Before the new session gets underway, defense firm Honeywell ( HON) and oil-services name Schlumberger ( SLB) are set to report. Beyond earnings, the Wall Street Journal reported that General Motors ( GM) was ramping up merger discussions with Chrysler. Ford ( F) plans on selling shares in Mazda to Japanese firms, according to a report in Reuters that cited local media.
Looking to the day's economic data, the Census Bureau is expected to roll out its September building permits and housing starts figures. A bit later, traders will take in an October consumer sentiment reading from the University of Michigan. As for commodities, crude oil was up $1.07 to $70.92 a barrel. Gold was down $3.50 to $801 an ounce. Longer-dated U.S. Treasury securities were rising in price. The 10-year was up 9/32 to yield 3.93%, and the 30-year was gaining 10/32, yielding 4.24%. The dollar was weaker vs. the pound and yen but gathering strength against the euro. Abroad, European exchanges were mixed. The FTSE in London was trading with gains, while the DAX in Frankfurt was slightly lower. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed on the upside, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong finished with losses.