* Fourth-quarter GDP growth revised downward
* Consumer sentiment data on tap
* J.C. Penney tumbles after earnings
* Futures off: Dow 17 pts, S&P 3 pts, Nasdaq 5.5 pts (Adds data, quote)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Feb 27 (Reuters) – Dow Futures pointed to a flat open for Wall Street on Friday, with major indexes on track for a fourth week of gains, following data on economic growth and ahead of a report on consumer sentiment.
Gross domestic product expanded 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter, revised down from 2.6 percent estimated last month, the Commerce Department said on Friday. The economy grew at a 5 percent rate in the third quarter.
“It was basically as expected, but it certainly shows weak growth in the quarter.” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York.
Each of the three major indexes were on track for a fourth straight week of gains, although the weekly climb has been slight, with the Dow and S&P 500 near record highs and the Nasdaq within striking distance of the 5,000 level.
“The concern is that we could go back down and retest these short term lows we’ve seen that the market has been experiencing since early December, there is a bit of caution from investors currently about that,” Ghriskey said.
S&P 500 e-mini futures were down 3 points and fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract, indicated a flat open. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures fell 17 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures lost 5.5 points.
Later in the session at 10:00 a.m. (1500 GMT), the University of Michigan’s final February reading on consumer sentiment is expected, along with pending home sales for January. Consumer sentiment is forecast to come in at 94, up from a preliminary 93.6. Pending home sales are expected to show a 2 percent rise, after a 3.7 percent decline in December.
After a sluggish start to the year, stocks have rebounded sharply in February. Both the Dow and S&P 500 are on track for their best monthly performance since October 2011, while the Nasdaq is on pace for its best month since January 2012.
Bank of America shares were down 1.2 percent to $ 15.85 in premarket after the company said two members of its board of directors and its chief accounting officer will be leaving the company in coming weeks. UBS also cut its rating on the stock to “neutral” from a “buy” rating.
J.C. Penney dropped 14.8 percent to $ 7.77 before the opening bell after the retailer posted a surprise quarterly loss and forecast small margin improvements this year.
With earnings season mostly wrapped up, Thomson Reuters data through Thursday morning shows that of the 475 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings, 69.5 percent have topped expectations, slightly above the 69 percent beat rate for the last four quarters. Earnings growth for the quarter is expected to be 6.8 percent.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum)
- Investment & Company Information