Stock Futures Fluctuate on Mixed Earnings, Eurozone Hopes

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures are pointing to a mixed opening Wednesday as investors reacted to a late Tuesday media report that France and Germany agreed to expand the eurozone bailout fund, but a surprise earnings miss from Apple ( AAPL) was pressuring Nasdaq futures.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were gaining 9 points, or 22 points above fair value, to 11,535. Futures for the S&P 500 were adding three-tenths of a point, or 2 points above fair value, at 1223 while Nasdaq futures were down by 15.7 points, or 12.8 points below fair value, at 2348.

Stocks finished Monday's session nearly 2% higher after a report from the UK's Guardian newspaper said France and Germany have reached an agreement to boost the eurozone rescue fund to €2 trillion ($2.76 trillion). However, the account was quickly rejected by a report from Dow Jones Newswires saying that European officials are still debating the size of the fund.

Global markets were largely disregarding a late Tuesday downgrade to Spain's bond rating to A1, from AA2, by Moody's. London's FTSE was gaining 0.9%, and Germany's DAX was also adding 0.9%. Japan's Nikkei Average finished ahead by 0.4%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 1.3%.

In U.S. economic news, inflation pressure remained muted in September, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showing that consumer prices rose 0.3% in September, meeting expectations, after growth of 0.4% in August. The core rate, which excludes food and energy and is considered the most accurate gauge of inflation, inched 0.1% higher after rising 0.2% in August. Wall Street had expected core CPI to tick 0.2% higher.

The Commerce Department said housing starts jumped 15% in September, to an annual rate of 658,000 from 572,000, previously. Building permits slipped by 0.5% to 594,000 from 625,000 in August. Economists had only expected housing starts to rise to 595,000, from August's previously reported level of 571,000. Building permits were expected to decline to 610,000, from 620,000 previously.

In Wednesday's earnings news, Morgan Stanley ( MS) reported a third-quarter profit gain of $3.6 billion, or $1.14 a share, helped by an accounting gain of $3.3 billion. Revenue rose 46% to $9.89 billion, topping Wall Street's expectations for earnings of 30 cents a share on revenue of $7.42 billion. Shares, however, were slipping 0.2% to $16.60 in early trading.

Dow component United Technologies ( UTX) reported third-quarter earnings of $1.47 a share, topping expectations by 2 cents. Revenue rose 8.7% to $14.8 billion, exceeding forecasts for sales of $14.55 billion. The company also hiked its full-year earnings outlook to $5.47 a share, from a prior range of $5.35 to $5.45 a share. The stock was up 1.2% to $75.

Travelers' ( TRV) third-quarter earnings were impacted by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. The Dow component reported operating earnings of 79 cents a share, which fell short of Wall Street's expectations for a profit of 99 cents a share. Shares were declining 0.9% to $51 in early morning trading.

Shares of PNC Financial Services ( PNC) were rising 0.6% to $51.50 on after the company beat analysts' estimates by six cents with earnings of $1.55 a share.

Bank of New York Mellon ( BK) matched analysts' profit projections with earnings of 53 cents a share.

Late Tuesday, big tech names Apple ( AAPL), Intel ( INTC) and Yahoo! ( YHOO) reported mixed results.

Shares of Apple were dropping 5% to $400.94 ahead of Wednesday's opening bell after the company reported its first earnings-per-share miss since 2004. Its profit of $7.05 a share fell short of projections for a profit of $7.39 a share.

Intel easily topped third-quarter profit expectations by 8 cents with earnings of 69 cents a share on sales of $14.3 billion. Analysts had been projecting revenue of $13.88 billion. Intel's stock was gaining 3.9% to $24.32 in early trading.

Shares of Yahoo! ( YHOO) were advancing 3.9% to $16.08 after the company reported earnings of 21 cents a share, beating the profit of 17 cents a share that Wall Street had been expecting. Sales of $1.07 billion were in line with analysts' estimates.

The dollar index, a measure of the dollar's value against a basket of currencies, was slipping 0.5%. The benchmark 10-year Treasury was down 4/32, lifting the yield to 2.192%.

The afternoon session will bring the Federal Open Market Committee's beige book for October. The collection of anecdotal accounts will be used to assess economic conditions at the Fed's next meeting in early November.

In commodity markets, gold for December delivery was adding $2.20 to trade at $1,655 an ounce. The December crude oil contract was shedding 8 cents, to trade at $88.45 a barrel.

-- Written by Melinda Peer in New York.
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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