US STOCKS-Futures little changed as technical levels eyed

* Deere profit tops estimates

* S&P 500 trades around 50-day moving average

* Futures: S&P down 0.4 pt, Dow up 4, Nasdaq down 3.25

* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]

NEW YORK, Aug 18 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) index futures were
flat on Wednesday as the S&P 500 struggled to push above a key
technical level amid continued concerns about the health of the
economy.

* The broad-based S&P has traded around its 50-day moving
average for the last four days after falling sharply last week
following a bleak assessment of the economy from the U.S.
Federal Reserve. The 50-day average is currently about 1,088.

* Investors have been torn between signs the economy is
slowing and better corporate results.

* Deere & Co (DE.N: ) reported stronger-than-expected
quarterly profit early Wednesday, helped by robust demand for
its biggest tractors and harvesters in the United States.
[ID:nN18179869]

* Target Corp (TGT.N: ) also reported quarterly results early
Wednesday. [ID:nASA00O4W]

* Applied Materials Inc (AMAT.O: ), Limited Brands Inc
(LTD.N: ) and NetApp Inc (NTAP.O: ) are among key U.S. companies
due to report later Wednesday.

* S&P 500 futures (SPc1: ) fell 0.4 point and were below 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 (DJc1: ) rose 4
points, and Nasdaq 100 futures (NDc1: ) lost 3.25 points.

* Investors will watch developments in this year’s biggest
takeover attempt as BHP Billiton Ltd (BHP.AX: )(BLT.L: ), the
world’s largest mining group, launched a hostile $39 billion
bid for Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc (POT.TO: )(POT.N: ) after
the Canadian fertilizer group’s board rejected its offer. For
details, see [ID:nN22340110]

* U.S. mortgage applications leaped to its highest level in
15 months last week as rock-bottom rates lifted demand for home
refinancing loans, the Mortgage Bankers Association said.
[ID:nNLLHJE6CN]

* Resource-related stocks will be in focus after crude oil
futures fell 1.3 percent as petroleum inventories in the United
States headed for a record, following an unexpected sharp
increase in crude stocks last week.

* Copper was little changed after hitting a one-week high
earlier in the session as inventory declines offset concerns
about slowing demand in top metals consumer China.
[ID:nLDE67H0V5]

* China’s banking regulator has told banks in Beijing to
test for the impact of a plunge in property values below what
is owed on mortgages, a local newspaper reported.
[ID:nTOE67H02R]

* Analog Devices Inc (ADI.N: ) shares advanced 1.7 percent in
extended trade on Tuesday after the microchip maker posted
quarterly results that topped estimates and gave a
better-than-expected outlook. [ID:nSGE67G0J2]

* European stocks (.FTEU3: ) dipped in early trade, with a
key index failing to stay above a resistance level pierced in
the previous session. Heavyweight energy shares fell along with
oil prices.

* Japan’s Nikkei average (.N225: ) rose nearly 1 percent a
day after the index hit an eight-month closing low, though
increases were limited by yen strength against the dollar.

* U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) rose Tuesday as earnings from Wal-Mart and
Home Depot and a $39 billion takeover bid in the agriculture
sector bolstered confidence in the corporate outlook.
(Reporting by Edward Krudy; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

US STOCKS-Futures little changed as technical levels eyed