US shares set to open little changed, GE in focus

LONDON - US shares were set to open little changed on Friday, pausing for breath after racking up records in the previous session, with the focus on General Electric’s results and retail sales data.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Fri 13 Jul 2007, 4:41 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 10:20 PM

At 0945 GMT, futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average were flat, while up 0.05 percent for the Nasdaq.

US stocks surged on Thursday, with the Dow hitting a record on its biggest point gain since 2002 after healthy sales from retailers reassured investors about consumer spending and miner Rio Tinto’s bid for Alcan raised the prospect of more consolidation.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 gained 1.9 percent, the Dow Jones put on 2.1 percent and the Nasdaq rose 1.9 percent.

‘US shares are likely to take a breather today, and GE is going to be the big feature,’ said Steve Previs at Jefferies International.

‘The earnings are likely to be great, and though the headline number could suffer from the sale of the subprime unit, it shows what a good portfolio manager (CEO) Jeff Immelt is -- he’s cutting his losses quickly.’

GE has decided to sell its WMC Mortgage lending business, the lender told employees in a memo on Thursday.

On the macro front, analysts expect US retail sales excluding cars to rise by 0.2 percent month-on-month.

Previs said a number of 0.4 or 0.5 percent might lead to rate worries.

‘We don’t want to get too exuberant -- need to get the soup just right,’ he said.

Also awaited is the result of a Reuters/University of Michigan survey. Macrovision Corp., which fell 9.3 percent after the closing bell on Thursday after it lowered its second-quarter outlook, will be in focus.

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