US STOCKS-Wall Street set to gain modestly, bank results perused

Last Updated: Fri, Oct 12, 2012 13:40 hrs

* Futures up: Dow 24 pts, S&P 1.3 pts, Nasdaq 4 pts

* JP Morgan surges early after earnings, then drops

* Consumer sentiment data on tap

* AMD drops after revenue warning

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Oct 12 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were poised for modest gains at the open on Friday, in the wake of sterling results from JP Morgan and data showing inflation pressure remained in check.

Investors remained concerned over the prospects for corporate profit growth, in light of the tepid economies in the U.S. and Europe.

JPMorgan Chase & Co reported record quarterly profits, up 34 percent from a year earlier, as low interest rates and a recovering housing market boosted mortgage lending. JP Morgan shares surged in early premarket trading, but later shed advances and were down 1 percent at $41.69.

Economic data showed producer prices rose 1.1 percent in September, against expectations for a 0.7 percent rise, but prices excluding volatile food and energy costs were flat, indicating underlying inflation presures remained muted.

"What we see going on is a battle - a lot of companies were managing down expectations because it is getting a little harder to hit those profit numbers because in a slow growth economy there is not a lot of revenue growth," said Steve Billimack, managing director at HighTower Advisors in Chicago.

"But right now on the bigger scale, inflation is under control and the fact the Fed is still stimulating is really what is driving the market more than anything."

Later in the session, investors will eye consumer sentiment data for indications recent labor market data helped boost views on the economy.

Wells Fargo & Co lost 3.4 percent to $33.99 in premarket trading after reporting its third-quarter results as revenue fell shy of analysts' expectations.

The earnings reports of both banks will be scrutinized for insight on the health of the financial sector and the economy as a whole. Both had been forecast to benefit significantly from a home loan refinancing boom.

The benchmark S&P index has shed 1.9 percent so far this week, putting it on track for its worst weekly performance since a 3-percent drop in the week through June 3.

Weak global demand has heightened investor worry over the corporate earnings season. As a group, S&P 500 companies' third-quarter earnings are expected to fall 3 percent from a year ago, according to Thomson Reuters data, marking the first decline in three years.

S&P 500 futures rose 1.3 points and were above 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 gained 24 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 4 points.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc dropped 10.9 percent to $2.85 in premarket trading after the chipmaker said its third-quarter revenue likely fell 10 percent from the previous quarter as a weak global economy and a growing preference for tablets slams the PC industry.

U.S.-listed shares of STMicroelectronics jumped 6.9 percent to $6.03 in premarket trading after Bloomberg reported Europe's top semiconductor maker was considering a breakup that could lead to the sale of its struggling mobile-phone chip business.

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