US STOCKS-Futures flat ahead of Bernanke, flood of data

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Oct 15 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stock index futures were
little changed on Friday, as investors awaited a speech by U.S.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and a host of economic
data for insight into the next round of the Fed’s quantitative
easing.

* Bernanke is scheduled to speak at 8:15 a.m. at the
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s “Revisiting Monetary Policy in
a Low-Inflation Environment” conference.

* “Everybody is going to watch closely because they are
looking for a hint on quantitative easing,” said Barry
Ritholtz, director of equity research at Fusion IQ in New
York.

* “That is pretty much a bullish speech title. Whenever the
Fed is talking about a low inflation environment it means they
feel they have latitude to engage in broad-based monetary
policy. Right now they are extremely accommodative, and they
are implying they are going to become more accommodative.”

* At 8:30 a.m. the U.S. Commerce Department will release
September retail sales numbers. Economists expect a 0.4 percent
month-over-month increase, a repeat of the August rise.
Excluding automobiles, sales were also forecast to rise 0.4
percent, compared with a 0.6 percent increase in August.

* Also at 8:30 a.m., the Labor Department releases the
September consumer price index. Economists in a Reuters survey
expect CPI to rise 0.2 percent compared with a 0.3 percent
increase in August.

* The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of
Consumers preliminary October consumer sentiment index is set
for release at 9:55 a.m. Economists in a Reuters survey expect
a reading of 69.0 compared with 68.2 in the final September
report.

* Other macroeconomic releases on Friday include U.S.
business inventories for August at 10 a.m., expected to rise
0.5 percent and the Empire State Manufacturing survey at 8:30
a.m.

* S&P 500 futures fell 2.7 points and were slightly above
fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into
account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the
contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures lost 19 points,
and Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 1.5 point.

* General Electric Co reported a rise in quarterly profit
from continuing operations, as lower credit losses at its
finance arm offset slack demand for heavy equipment including
jet engines and railroad locomotives. Its shares dipped in
premarket trade as its revenue fell short of Wall Street’s
forecast.

* Google Inc (Read more about Google Stock Analysis) eased fears that big spending would erode
margins as its results blew past Wall Street targets, and the
web search leader revealed for the first time the strength of
its fledgling mobile and online display ad businesses.
Frankfurt-listed shares in Google were up 9 percent.

* Mattel Inc reported a slightly higher-than-expected
quarterly profit, helped by classic brands like Barbie and
newer lines like Disney Princess and Monster High dolls, and
struck a positive note ahead of the busiest selling period of
the year.

* European shares were flat Friday morning, with technology
shares boosted by upbeat results from Google, offsetting falls
in heavyweight miners as metals prices eased from earlier
highs.

* Banks led U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) lower on Thursday as investors
fretted a widening foreclosure crisis could undermine the
market’s strength over the last five weeks.
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)

US STOCKS-Futures flat ahead of Bernanke, flood of data