Stock Futures Fall as GE, McDonald's Disappoint


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures were falling Friday after General Electric (GE) missed top-line estimates and McDonald's (MCD) fell short on bottom-line targets, just a day after Google (GOOG) and Microsoft (MSFT) posted disappointing results.

General Electric posted in-line third-quarter earnings of 36 cents a share, while revenue came in at $36.35 billion, falling short of analysts' expectations of $36.94 billion. The company said that the global economy remains uncertain.

Shares were down nearly 2.5% in premarket trading.

Shares of McDonald's were declining more than 2.5% after the fast-food giant posted a quarterly profit of $1.43 a share, below analysts' calls for a profit of $1.47 a share, as the stronger dollar weighed on results abroad and the fast-food giant faced stiffer domestic competition,

Revenue came in at $7.15 billion, as expected.

Investors were also awaiting existing home sales data and assessing developments out of the second-day of meetings between European Union leaders in Brussels, where issues surrounding more financial aid for Spain weren't addressed.

"In a celebrated instance of kicking the can down the road, the EU summit appears to have delayed any difficult decisions on the Euro banking union until next year," Paul Donovan, global economist at UBS, commented. "A 'legal framework' is reportedly agreed, but the obstacles to overcome are more political than legal."

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were sliding 42 points, or 40.94 points below fair value, at 13,445. Futures for the S&P 500 were down 3.10 points, or 3.89 points below fair value, at 1448. Futures for the Nasdaq were behind by 3.75 points, or 9.57 points below fair value, at 2729.

"Between now and year end, we see largely range-bound equity markets and higher volatility," said Jordan Waxman, managing director at Hightower. "The backdrop is that on the one hand, the environment for stock investing is benign, as interest rates and inflation are low, corporate profits are healthy and valuations are not stretched. However, earnings growth is decelerating -- some of which is not yet forecasted by the analyst community -- and there is still plenty of slack in labor and housing, uncertainty over the fiscal picture in the U.S. and over the health of sovereigns abroad."

The National Association of Realtors is forecast by economists to say that existing home sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.75 million in September from 4.82 million in August. The report is due at 10 a.m. EDT.

"The U.S. has existing home sales data, forecast flattish but with some potential for upside surprises," said Donovan.

The major U.S. equity averages finished lower Thursday after the surprise early release of disappointing quarterly results by Google threw the markets for a loop.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company earned $9.03 a share on revenue of $11.33 billion during the third quarter. Analysts were looking for earnings of $10.65 a share and sales of $11.862 billion.

Google shares fell 8% during Thursday's regular session to $695, and were wavering in premarket trading Friday.

After the markets closed on Thursday, Microsoft, the software giant, reported a year-over-year decline in operating income for its fiscal first quarter, citing slow PC demand ahead of its Windows 8 launch. Quarterly profit fell 22%.

Shares were off close to 2% in premarket trading Friday.

The FTSE 100 in London was down 0.14% and the DAX in Germany was falling 0.49% in trading Friday. The Nikkei Average in Tokyo finished up 0.22% and the Hong Kong Hang Seng closed up 0.15%.

December crude oil futures were up 29 cents at $92.82 a barrel. December gold futures were falling $8.10 at $1,736.60 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was rising 8/32, diluting the yield to 1.808%. The dollar was up 0.13%, according to the dollar index.

In other corporate news, Chipotle Mexican Grill ( CMG), the restaurant operator, reported Thursday below-consensus third-quarter results and said it sees flat to low single-digit same-store sales in 2013.

Shares were plunging more than 11%.

Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices ( AMD) reported a deep third-quarter loss on Thursday, said it plans to cut 15% of its work force, and forecast a sequential decrease in revenue of 9% or so for the fourth quarter.

Shares were down close to 2%.


--Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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

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