US futures mixed after tech results disappoint

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New York - US stock index futures were mixed on Friday, after the Dow and S&P 500 closed at record highs a day earlier, in the wake of disappointing results from tech giants Microsoft and Google.

News out of China helped set a slightly firmer tone after the country's central bank announced long-awaited interest rate reforms, scrapping the previous floor on the rates that banks charge clients for loans. S&P 500 futures inched up and European shares cut declines.

Shares of Microsoft and Google were lower in premarket trading after the results of both, announced after the close of trading Thursday, fell short of expectations. Microsoft was down 7.2 percent, while Google tumbled 3.2 percent.

“It's the first time in this cycle that we've had some household names that have missed and I think that's important, especially on a day where we're starting to transition our entire focus over to earnings,” said Art Hogan, managing director at Lazard Capital Markets in New York.

Also in the tech sector, Advanced Micro Devices slumped 10.6 percent after the company said gross margins would fall, even as the chip maker forecast stronger-than-expected revenue growth in the third quarter.

Analysts expect S&P 500 companies' second-quarter earnings to have grown 3.5 percent from a year earlier, with revenue up 1.1 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.

So far, 70.4 percent of companies that have reported results have surpassed analysts' earnings expectations, while 49.4 percent have beaten revenue estimates.

S&P 500 futures added 0.1 points but 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 slipped 11 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures were off 2 points.

Without fresh economic data on tap, investors may consider the high-profile earnings disappointments an incentive to lock in profits, with the Dow and S&P sitting at record closing highs.

The benchmark S&P is up more than 18 percent for the year.

Investors were taking in the latest round of earnings on Friday morning.

General Electric and Schlumberger both reported better-than-expected results, sending their shares higher.

GE rose 1.7 percent, while Schlumberger was up 2.8 percent.

Intuitive Surgical slid more than 14 percent after the company cut its 2013 sales forecast and said US regulators had issued a warning after an inspection of its facilities. - Reuters


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