Stock Futures Flat as Investors Dive Into JPMorgan, Wells Fargo Earnings

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were little changed Friday as investors sorted through the details of Wells Fargo ( WFC ) and J.P. Morgan Chase's ( JPM) earnings reports heading into the heart of the second-earnings season.

Futures for the S&P 500 were off 0.5 points, or 0.13 points below fair value, to 1,669.5. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 9 points, or 12.08 points above fair value, to 15,402. Futures for the Nasdaq were rising 0.75 points, or 2.69 points above fair value, to 3,055.75.

Wells Fargo was gaining more than 1.5% to $42.60 in premarket trading. The company beat second-quarter earnings expectations as the nation's fourth largest bank by assets was able to grow its earnings for a fourteenth consecutive quarter. Wells Fargo saw strong performance from its less prominent businesses such as investment banking and mortgage servicing. Net charge-offs on loans continued to fall, dropping to their lowest level since the second quarter of 2006.

Still, the bank's mortgage earnings confirmed widespread sentiment that consumer and housing market activity remain well below levels they should be in a normal economy.

JPMorgan Chase shares were rising 0.65% to $55.50 in premarket trading Friday after the bank kick-started second-quarter bank earnings announcements. The company said its second-quarter profit rose 31% from a year earlier, beating expectations, boosted by stronger-than-expected trading revenues and a continuing decline in credit costs.

At the same time, the bank cautioned that "if primary mortgage rates remain at or above current levels, refinance volumes and margins will be under pressure and Mortgage Production profitability will be challenged."

In economic news, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that the producer price index rose by a more-than-expected 0.8% in June after increasing by 0.5% in May. Economists were anticipating a rise of 0.5% according to a survey of economists by Thomson Reuters. The core part of this inflation gauge, which excludes the food and energy components, ticked up 0.2%, also more than expected, up from a 0.1% increase the prior month. A 0.1% uptick was predicted. Still, the gains weren't doing much to challenge the market and the Federal Reserve's expectations of stable longer-term inflation conditions and more subdued levels in the near term.

Shortly after the market open at 9:55 a.m., the July read on the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index is expected to come in at 85 in July, up from 84.1 in June.

A number of Federal Reserve officials are expected to make appearances Friday.

At 2:45 p.m., the Fed Presidents of Philadelphia and St. Louis, Charles Plosser and James Bullard, are expected to speak at a panel in Jackson Hole, Wyoming discussing the economic outlook.

In afterhours trading, at 5:15 p.m., San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams will be speaking about moderation in monetary policy, in Vancouver, British Colombia.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was gaining 7/32, lowering the yield to 2.55%.The dollar was rising 0.25% to $82.95 according to the U.S. dollar index.

In deal news, Chinese chipmaker Spreadtrum Communications ( SPRD) was soaring nearly 14% to $30.15 after the company agreed to be bought by a division of state-owned company Tsinghua for a sweetened offer of $1.78 billion, or $31 per American Depositary Share.

Gap ( GPS) was rising more than 1% to $45.25 in premarket trading after the apparel retailer posted a rise of 7% in June same-store sales bolstered by Old Navy's strong performance and beating the Wall Street target of a 4.7% increase.

Major U.S. stock averages surged Thursday, with the Dow and S&P 500 touching new all-time closing highs, after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke tamed market anxieties by saying the Fed will keep its stimulus spigots open for quite some time.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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

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