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US STOCKS-Futures flat as Goldman issue eyed; J&J, data on tap

By ReutersGeneral NewsApr 14, 2009 11:47AM GMT Add a Comment
 
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* Goldman in $5 billion issue after strong earnings

US STOCKS-Futures flat as Goldman issue eyed; J&J, data on tap

* Johnson&Johnson earnings awaited before the bell

* Retail, producer prices on tap

* Futures: S&P down 2.1, Dow down 7, Nasdaq up 1.8

(Updates to early morning)

By Edward Krudy

NEW YORK, April 14 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat open on Tuesday as strong earnings from Goldman Sachs lifted bank shares and investors awaited the latest news on the consumer from Johnson & Johnson results and U.S. retail sales for March.

Goldman Sachs posted a much higher-than-expected first quarter profit, but said it planned a $5 billion common share sale to help pay back government funds. It's shares traded down around 2 percent before the bell.

Healthcare group Johnson & Johnson is expected to report earnings of $1.22 a share excluding items before the bell, down from $1.26 a year earlier, according to Reuters estimates.

"People will be looking at Johnson & Johnson very carefully," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners in New York. "As far as earnings are concerned Johnson & Johnson could be a market mover, that could entice the market to move higher.

On the macroeconomics front, March retail sales are due at 8.30 a.m. (1230 GMT), as are March producer price data.

Cardillo expects "we should see a little uptick in retail sales which should continue to boost investor confidence today."

Citigroup shares traded up 8 percent to $4.11 in premarket trade, while Bank of America rose 1.6 percent to $11.20. Goldman Sachs fell 2 percent to $127.48.

S&P 500 futures fell 2.10 points and 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 fell 7 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 1.75 points.

Chipmaker Intel is set to kick off tech earnings season, with results eyed closely for guidance on the semiconductor market.

Investors will also be eyeing comments from U.S. Federal Chairman Ben Bernanke, who will give a lecture, entitled "Four questions about the Financial Crisis", at 1.30 p.m. (1730 GMT) in Atlanta, Georgia.

In other news, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter, that Chrysler's creditors planned to make a counteroffer to the U.S. Treasury this week in which they might ask for equity in a firm combining Chrysler with potential partner Fiat in exchange for concessions.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq rose on Monday as bets that major banks will post reassuring quarterly results fueled a run-up in financials, offsetting uneasiness about the fate of General Motors.

The Dow, however, slipped after Boeing said cuts in output of widebody planes and lower-than-expected airplane prices would hurt first-quarter profit. (Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)

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