US STOCKS-Futures drop as Apple revenue miss halts stocks rally

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 24, 2013 12:30 hrs

* China, Europe PMIs lift sentiment

* Jobless claims data on tap

* Futures: S&P down 3.7 pts, Dow up 6 pts, Nasdaq off 34.75

By Edward Krudy

NEW YORK, Jan 24 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures fell Thursday as a revenue miss by Apple triggered a slide of nearly 10 percent in its shares in after-hours trading, and analysts said equities may be due for a pullback after a six-day rally for the S&P 500.

* Apple Inc missed Wall Street's revenue forecast for a third straight quarter after iPhone sales came in below expectations, fanning fears its dominance of consumer electronics is slipping. The shares dropped 9.5 percent to $465.40 in premarket trading, wiping out about $50 billion of its market value.

* However, some positive economic news looked set to put a floor under stock prices. Growth in Chinese manufacturing accelerated to a two-year high this month and a buoyant Germany took the euro zone economy a step closer to recovery, business surveys showed on Thursday.

* "The march to 1,500 on the S&P is looking quite strong, the question is will Apple be the spoiler?" said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.

"My guess is that while Nasdaq might suffer losses today, both the Dow and the S&P may do otherwise based on economic news out of China and Europe."

* The S&P 500 rose for a sixth day on Wednesday after stronger-than-expected profits from IBM and Google . But the rally that has lifted stocks to five-year highs could be halted by Apple's after-hours revenue miss, especially on the technology heavy Nasdaq index.

* S&P 500 futures fell 3.7 point 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 rose 6 points and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 34.75 points.

* Corporate earnings have helped drive the recent stock market rally. Thomson Reuters data through Wednesday showed that of the 99 S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings, 67.7 percent have exceeded expectations, above the 65 percent average over the past four quarters.

* Investors in U.S.-based mutual funds pumped $9.32 billion into stock funds in the week ended Jan. 16, the second consecutive week of inflows for such funds, data from the Investment Company Institute showed Wednesday.

* European shares were little changed in midday trading as mixed company earnings coupled with conflicting economic data from the region made investors wary, with indexes at multi-year highs.

* Netflix Inc surprised Wall Street on Wednesday with a quarterly profit after the video subscription service added nearly 4 million customers in the United States and abroad, sending its shares nearly 40 percent higher in premarket trading.

* On the macro front, investors awaited weekly jobless claims, at 8:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT), Markit Manufacturing PMI for January, due at 8:58 a.m. (1358 GMT), and December leading economic indicators, due at 10:00 (1500 GMT).

* Among the companies set to report results Thursday were Bristol-Myers Squibb, Lockheed Martin, 3M Company, Microsoft, Raytheon, Starbucks , AT&T Inc., and Xerox Corp..

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