Wall Street set to gain modestly

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WallStreet1234 Reuters. A Wall Street sign is pictured outside the New York Stock Exchange in New York.

New York - US stock index futures pointed to slight gains at the open Friday in a modest rebound from recent losses, though major indexes remained on track for their biggest weekly decline since April.

* The S&P 500 has fallen for three of the past four sessions, dropping Thursday on concerns over the financial health of Portugal's top listed bank.

Still, steady gains this year have left equities near record levels, and investors have used any uncertainty as an opportunity to take profits.

* The second-quarter earnings season will be in focus.

While few companies have reported so far, next week will bring the results of dozens of highly watched names, including several Dow components.

* Early reports, including from Alcoa Inc, have been positive, though investors continue to watch for signs of revenue growth and confirmation that the economy rebounded in the second quarter after a dismal start to the year.

* Wells Fargo & Co reported second-quarter revenue that beat expectations, saying its results “reflected strong credit quality driven by an improved economy, especially the housing market.” Shares dipped 0.2 percent to $51.70 in premarket trading.

* Fastenal Co reported second-quarter revenue that was below expectations.

Late Thursday, Chevron Corp forecast rising second-quarter earnings as asset sales in Chad and elsewhere offset spiking currency charges.

* S&P 500 e-mini futures rose 1.5 point and were 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 e-mini futures rose 11 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures rose 9 points.

* For the week, the Dow is down 0.9 percent, the S&P is down 1 percent and the Nasdaq is down 2 percent.

It is the biggest weekly decline for all three indexes since the week ended April 11.

The CBOE Volatility index is up 22 percent this week, its biggest weekly spike since March.

* In a cautious signal, the S&P closed under its 14-day moving average on Thursday, a sign of weak near-term momentum.

* In company news, Whirlpool Corp agreed to buy 66.8 percent of voting stock of Italy's Indesit Company SpA for about $1.03 billion.

* Westmoreland Coal Co fell 0.8 percent to $36.72 in premarket trading a day after it said a public offering of 1.5 million shares was priced at $35.50 each, a discount to its Thursday closing price of $37.

* European shares rose 0.2 percent but were on track for a weekly decline of nearly 3 percent.

Portugal's Banco Espirito Santo steadied market jitters by reassuring investors over financial troubles at its biggest shareholder, though investors were in the dark about any potential losses. - Reuters


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