US STOCKS-Futures point to lower open; Netflix rallies early

Reuters , Thursday 16 Apr 2015

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Thursday as investors continued to digest earnings that were largely ahead of expectations but show little organic growth.

Overseas events were also a focus as concerns grew about Greece's debt situation. The Financial Times reported the International Monetary Fund had rebuffed a request from the country to delay loan repayments. An index of European shares fell 0.9 percent.

Of the 36 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported thus far, 81 percent have exceeded profit expectations, over the long-term average of 63 percent. Only 47 have beaten on revenue, however, below the historical average of 61 percent. That suggests companies are boosting their bottom lines with cost cuts rather than through business expansion.

Goldman Sachs reported better-than-expected earnings, helped by a burst of trading in fixed-income and currencies. Shares of the Dow component rose 0.4 percent to $201.85 before the bell.

UnitedHealth Group Inc reported strong earnings and revenue growth, sending shares up 2.9 percent to $120.75 in premarket trading. Netflix Inc late Wednesday added more subscribers than projected in the first quarter, sending shares up 12 percent to $531.70 before the bell.

On the downside, SanDisk Corp fell 7.3 percent to $65.93 in heavy premarket trading a day after forecasting a steeper-than-expected fall in full-year revenue.

First-quarter profits for S&P 500 companies are seen falling 2.6 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data, eroded by low oil prices, a strong dollar and extreme weather in the eastern United States.

Energy shares may continue to be volatile as U.S. crude futures dropped 1.9 percent to $55.31 a barrel. That follows a rise of 5.8 percent on Wednesday, the fifth day of gains for the commodity.

Wall Street has been on an uptrend of late, with the S&P 500 rising in seven of the past nine sessions. Wednesday's gains brought the Nasdaq within striking distance of its record-high close of 5,048.62 in 2000.

Jobless claims unexpectedly rose in the latest week, but continuing claims fell to their lowest since 2000, a trend that points to a strengthening labor market.

Futures snapshot at 8:35 a.m. EDT (1235 GMT):

* S&P 500 e-minis were down 7 points, or 0.33 percent, with 163,984 contracts changing hands.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 16.75 points, or 0.38 percent, in volume of 22,624 contracts.

* Dow e-minis were down 55 points, or 0.31 percent, with 27,995 contracts changing hands.

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