3M Company (NYSE:MMM) $126.32, Citigroup (NYSE:C) $36.80 and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) $54.79, each a Dow Industrials component, reported earnings this morning and all three beat analyst's estimates by a penny. These earnings along with a plethora of other earnings reports finds stock futures holding marginal gains after a three-day weekend.
S&P futures (sp03h) currently trade higher by 1 point at 904.10, while NASDAQ futures (nd03h) trade up 2 points at 1,022 and Dow futures (dj03h) gain 17 points at 8,600. With futures treading water right around fair value, traders are looking at a flat to marginally higher open for stocks.
Fair value for the S&P 500 today is $0.20. That price will not change during the session. HL Camp & Company has their computers set for program buying at $0.66 and set for program selling at $-1.72.
Automotive stocks should get a boost today after number 2 automaker Ford Motor (NYSE:F) $10.16 reported earnings that beat estimates by a penny, but said it now expects FY03 EPS to be $0.70, which is well above consensus of $0.51 per share. Ford also said it plans to increase capital spending to $8 billion in 2003.
Economic data out this morning came in above economist's forecast as December housing starts jumped to a strong 1.835 million unit rate in December, while permits for new construction soared to 1.88 million. Economists looked for December housing starts to edge up from a revised 1.697 million rate in November to 1.68 million. December's building permits gain was well above November 1.738 million rate and economist's forecast of 1.71 million.
Shares of Dell Computer (NASDAQ:DELL) $24.83 are edging up 4-cent to $24.87 despite a morning downgrade by UBS Warburg to "neutral" from "buy," citing valuation. UBS reduced its price target to $28 from $32.50.