Stock Futures Trim Gains as Investors Monitor Boston Manhunt

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were tracking the global markets higher Friday but paring gains after a set of mixed earnings reports from bellwethers General Electric ( GE) and McDonald's ( MCD) raised concerns about the global economy.

Police continued to search Boston and adjacent towns for one of two men allegedly behind the bombing on Monday that left three people dead and scores maimed. The focus was on the city of Watertown where all vehicular traffic has been banned, the Boston Herald reported.

Public transportation had been suspended in and around Boston as SWAT teams were going door-to-door in Watertown, according to the Herald. Residents in Boston, Watertown, Cambridge, Newton, Waltham, Belmont and elsewhere have been ordered to stay home with doors locked.

In the markets, McDonald's ( MCD) was slipping 1.43% to $100.45 after the hamburger chain warned that its April global comparable sales may be slightly negative amid a "challenging global environment" and as "bottom-line pressures are expected to persist." The company reported first-quarter earnings of $1.26 a share, missing estimates by a penny, on in-line revenue of $6.605 billion as global same-store sales fell 1% and U.S. comparable sales decreased 1.2%.

General Electric was slumping 2.56% to $22.09 after the industrial conglomerate booked in-line first-quarter adjusted earnings of 35 cents a share on better-than-expected revenue of $35 billion as GE's sale of NBCUniversal and an increase in revenues from its oil and gas, and aviation equipment was overshadowed by a "challenging environment" in Europe where conditions "weakened further" and sent its industrial sales tumbling. Revenues were expected to total $34.51 billion, according to analysts surveyed Thomson Reuters.

According to Thomson Reuters, the blended estimate for the first quarter, which reflects reported results and analyst expectations, is for year-over-year growth of 1.7% from the S&P 500, down from 6.3% in the fourth quarter. 12% of S&P 500 companies have reported so far.

Futures for the S&P 500 were rising 6.5 points, or 4.24 points above fair value, to 1,540.5 after dipping Thursday to its lowest point since Mar. 6 as eBay ( EBAY) and UnitedHealth Group ( UNH) posted first-quarter earnings that fell short of expectations, fueling concerns about the U.S. economic recovery.

The benchmark index is down more than 3% from its record close on Apr. 11, fuelling worries about a "spring break" in the equities market. At the same time though the S&P 500 has leaped more than 120% from its 12-year low hit in 2009 with the Federal Reserve now carrying out its third round of asset purchases in hopes of speeding up the U.S. economic recovery.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were gaining 35 points, or 26.14 points below fair value, to 14,445. Futures for the Nasdaq were adding 12 points, or 16.4 points above fair value, to 2,751.5.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng index settled higher by 2.33% after the International Monetary Fund said market fears over a string of soft economic numbers out of China were overblown. The Nikkei 225 in Japan closed up 0.73% as Finance Minister Taro Aso said that the country's aggressive stimulus plans weren't being scrutinized at the Group of 20 industrial and developing nations' meeting and exporter stocks popped on a yen retreat.

European markets climbed as oil and mining stocks advanced. The FTSE 100 in the UK was up 0.4% and the DAX in Germany was up 0.02%.

IBM ( IBM) missed Wall Street's top- and bottom-line estimates in its first-quarter results as a weak Japanese yen weighed down profits. Shares were off 4.68% to $197.46 in premarket trading.

Blackstone ( BX) ended its pursuit of Dell ( DELL), three people familiar with the matter told Reuters. The move by Blackstone eases the way for founder Michael Dell and his private-equity partner Silver Lake to take Dell private in a $24.4 billion deal. Dell slid 2.8% to $13.56.

No major U.S. economic numbers were scheduled for Friday.

The dollar was down 0.09% to $82.48 according to the U.S. dollar index. The benchmark 10-year Treasury was falling 3/32, bringing the yield to 1.699%.

June crude oil futures were rising 82 cents to $88.82 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while June gold futures were surging $19.50 to $1,412.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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

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