Kraft Misses as Dow Heads for a Lower Start


LONDON -- Stock index futures at 7 a.m. EST indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average may start today's trading session down by 10 points, or 0.07%, while the S&P 500 may open 0.12% lower.

Today's economic-data highlight is likely to be January's industrial-production figures, due at 9:15 a.m. EST. Consensus forecasts suggest that industrial production rose by 0.2% in January after gaining 0.3% during December. Other data in the cards today includes February's Empire State index at 8:30 a.m. EST, expected to read -2, and February's University of Michigan consumer sentiment index at 9:55 a.m. EST, expected to have risen slightly to 75 from 73.8 in January.

With earnings season coming to a close, only a few big names are left to report. Kraft Foods reported estimated fourth-quarter earnings per share of $0.15 this morning, missing analyst expectations of $0.22 per share. Kraft said fourth-quarter revenues had probably fallen by 10.7% but that it was not releasing full-year results today due to accounting complexities following its recent spin-off from Mondelez International.

American Electric Power delivered fourth-quarter earnings of $0.50 per share, 11% ahead of consensus forecasts for $0.45. Other companies expected to report their latest earnings before the opening bell this morning include Campbell Soup, Zipcar, J. M. Smucker,and Burger King Worldwide.

One stock that may be actively traded when markets open is CBS Corp, which was 1.3% lower in premarket trading this morning after reporting fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $0.64 per share last night, missing analysts' consensus earnings forecast of $0.69 per share.

European markets
Most European markets were broadly unchanged this morning as investors await the outcome of the G20 summit, which starts today in Moscow.

At 7:30 a.m. EST, the DAX was down 0.14%, the CAC 40 and the FTSE MIB were flat, and the IBEX 35 was down 0.7%. In London, the FTSE 100 was up just 0.1% as falls for miners Randgold Resources and Fresnillo were offset by strong gains for ITV, Shire, and mining giant Anglo American , whose shares rose by 1.5% in London trade this morning following the publication of its full-year results. Anglo reported a $3 billion fall in underlying earnings to $2.8 billion but raised its dividend by 15%, cheering investors.

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Roland Head does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Zipcar. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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