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REFILE-US STOCKS-Wall St to open flat after Thursday climb; data due

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Fri, Aug 17, 2012 14:40 hrs

* U.Mich consumer sentiment survey, key indicators on tap

* Gap climbs after earnings

* Futures: Dow off 1 pts, S&P off 0.6 pt, Nasdaq up 6.5 pts

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Aug 17 (Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes pointed to a flat open on Friday, after enjoying its biggest gain in two weeks Thursday, as investors awaited the release of reports on consumer mindset and a gauge of leading economic indicators.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan surveys' August preliminary consumer sentiment index is due at 9:55 a.m. ET (1355 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey expect a reading of 72.4 compared with 72.3 in the final July report.

Shortly afterwards, at 10:00 a.m. ET (1400 GMT), the Conference Board releases its report on July leading economic indicators. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a 0.2 percent rise compared with a 0.3 percent drop in June.

"Leading indicators, that is going to be an interesting number - if that pulls back, I am going to start worrying," said Harry Clark, CEO of Clark Capital Management Group in Philadelphia.

Trading volume, which has been meager over the past several sessions during a seasonally slow period, could be even lighter headed into the weekend.

"It will be a very slow day and it may just drift higher, today's news is not negative at all so the market is just sitting there," said Clark.

The S&P rallied for six days through Aug. 10, its longest run of gains since December 2010, boosted by the anticipation of more actions from central banks in the United States and euro zone to stimulate their respective economies in September.

Since Aug. 10, the S&P 500 had been little changed until Thursday, when comments from German Chancellor Angela Merkel - which reinforced investor expectations for action - lifted the benchmark index by its biggest percentage gain since August 3 to a four-month peak.

S&P 500 futures fell 0.6 points and were slightly below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration of the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures added 1 point and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 6.5 points.

Gap advanced 2.2 percent to $35.10 in premarket trade after the clothing retailer posted a higher quarterly profit and raised its full-year forecast.

Ann Inc surged 15.9 percent to $32.60 after the parent of Ann Taylor and LOFT stores reported higher-than-expected quarterly profit for the eighth time in a row.

Foot Locker Inc gained 4.1 percent to $35.90 in premarket after the athletic footwear retailer posted second-quarter earnings that topped Wall Street estimates.

Marvell Technology Group Ltd dropped 9.3 percent to $11.14 before the bell after the chipmaker posted second-quarter earnings and said current-quarter results may miss expectations.

Network storage equipment maker Brocade Communication Systems Inc's third-quarter results beat Wall Street estimates, boosted by a 13 percent rise in storage equipment sales, and the company said its chief executive intends to resign. Its shares advanced 2.7 percent to $5.78.

J.M. Smucker Co, the maker of Folgers coffee and Jif peanut butter, posted better-than-expected quarterly results as price cuts helped demand.

Thomson Reuters data shows that of the 468 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings through Thursday morning, 68 percent beat analysts' expectations, about the same rate as over the past four quarters.




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