US stock-index futures hesitate around 0% change before data

Stock exchangeU.S. stock-index futures remain almost unchanged, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index trading near a record, as investors focus on upcoming release of data on durable-goods orders and consumer confidence in the world’s largest economy.

S&P 500 futures expiring in December slipped less than 0.1 percent to 1,746.7 at 11:32 a.m. in London. Stocks are heading for their third weekly rally as signs of slower economic recovery fueled speculation the Federal Reserve will wait until March before scaling back bond-purchasing program. Future contracts on the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined by 30 points, 0.2%, to 15,455 today.

U.S. data releases are set to attract analysts interest, with durable-goods orders for September due at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Economists polled by MarketWatch expect a 3% advance after it barely budged in July.

The final University of Michigan/Thomson Reuters consumer sentiment index for October is due at 9:55 a.m. EDT, with expectations for a drop to 74.8 from an initial read of 75.2. The preliminary October reading was 9% below the figure for October 2012.

The earnings season is continuing corporate data releases, with investors closely follow fresh economic indicators in a lookout for good news. Out of the S&P 500 companies reporting quarterly results so far, 52% have posted positive sales surprises, while 72% have beat expectations on earnings per share, according to FactSet data.

Microsoft Corp. already revealed its earnings after the closing of trading session yesterday, saying its fiscal first-quarter profit rose to 62 cents a share from 53 cents a share a year ago. Shares were up 4.5% in pre-market trade and are expected to rise today.

Zynga Inc. added 13% ahead of the open, after the online-games company yesterday after close, said it lost 2 cents a share in the quarter on an adjusted basis, better than the 4-cents-a-share loss forecast by analysts.

Amazon.com Inc. increased 8.2% in pre-market. The online retailer said Thursday after the market close that its third-quarter net loss narrowed to 9 cents a share, from a loss of 60 cents a share a year ago. Its revenue jumped 24% to $17.09 billion.

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