US STOCKS-Futures point to higher open after GDP data

* US economy grew in Q4 at 5.7 pct pace

* Reuters/Univ. of Michigan consumer sentiment data due

* Chevron edges higher after Q4 results

* Futures up: Dow 63 pts, S&P 7 pts, Nasdaq 17.75 pts

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

(Updates with GDP data)

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, Jan 29 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stock index futures moved
sharply higher on Friday, pointing to gains at the open, after
data showed the U.S. economy grew at a 5.7 percent pace in the
fourth quarter, much higher than expected.

The first estimate of the nation’s economic output in the
last three months of 2009 put gross domestic product growth at
its fastest pace since the third quarter of 2003, according to
the U.S. Commerce Department. Analysts were expecting GDP to
grow at a 4.6 percent rate in the quarter. For details, see
[ID:nN28120005]

“This is a great number and gives us a running start into
the second half of the year, when we won’t be able to rely on
government stimulus,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer
at Harris Private Bank in Chicago.

“It’s possible that this could lead to higher interest
rates sooner than later, but having a front-loaded number is,
all in all, good news; better too high than too low.”

Futures were also lifted a day after Microsoft Corp
(MSFT.O: ) and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O: ) reported quarterly results
that beat expectations. Microsoft, a Dow component, expects
business technology spending to recover in 2010, while Amazon
forecast strong 2010 revenue.

Shares of Microsoft gained 2.8 percent to $29.97 in
premarket trading while Amazon climbed 3.3 percent to $130.15.
[ID:nN27150165] and [ID:nN19226206]

S&P 500 (SPc1: ) futures rose 7 points and were above fair
value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account
interest rates, dividends and time to expiration of the
contract. Dow Jones industrial average (DJc1: ) futures gained 63
points, and Nasdaq 100 (NDc1: ) futures added 17.75 points.

Dow component Chevron Corp (CVX.N: ) edged 0.3 percent higher
to $73.47 in premarket trading after reporting its
fourth-quarter results. [ID:nN29120138]

The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago PMI data and
the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers final
consumer sentiment reading, both for January, are also on tap
for later in the day. [ID:nWNAB0447]

The Chicago PMI, while still showing an expansionary
reading above 50, is expected to dip to 57.4 from 58.7 in
December. The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer survey is
expected to tick up slightly to 73.0 from a reading of 72.5 in
late December, according to a poll of economists by Reuters.

Honeywell International Inc (HON.N: ) reported a slight
decline in its fourth-quarter profit (Read more your timing to make a profit.), while Mattel Inc (MAT.O: )
reported better-than-expected profit in its holiday season.

Honeywell fell 3.2 percent to $38.50 before the bell while
Mattel gained 1.6 percent to $20.37. [ID:nN29134579]
[ID:nN29109663]

The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted to confirm Ben Bernanke
for another four-year term despite misgivings over what some
saw as policy missteps. While the confirmation was expected,
recent doubts about his support created an overhang for
equities. [ID:nN27143856]

Stock Market Research

(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)

US STOCKS-Futures point to higher open after GDP data