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U.S. Stock Futures Rise, As Overseas Gains Give A Boost

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01/25/2013 | 02:24pm CEST

--Stock futures get a lift from gains in overseas markets ahead of housing data

--Europe markets gain; strong German data, bank-loan repayments offset disappointing U.K. data

--Japanese stocks surge to the highest level in nearly three years as yen extends slide

--New-home sales for December seen rising 2.1% on the month

   By Tomi Kilgore 

NEW YORK--U.S. stock futures rose Friday, putting the market on an early track to extend its recent run to multiyear highs, as strong data out of Germany and a surge in Japanese stocks kept investors in an upbeat mood ahead of U.S. housing-market data.

About 90 minutes ahead of the open, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures advanced 35 points, or 0.3%, to 13816. On Thursday, the Dow rose 46 points, or 0.3%, to close at the highest level in more than five years.

Standard & Poor's 500-stock index futures tacked on four points, or 0.3%, to 1496 and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 12 points, or 0.4%, to 2730. Changes in stock futures don't always accurately predict stock moves after the opening bell.

Data on new-home sales for December are due out at 10 a.m. EST. The median estimate of economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires is for an increase of 2.1% on the month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 385,000.

In corporate news, shares of Procter & Gamble rallied 1.6% in premarket trading after the blue-chip consumer-products company reported fiscal second-quarter earnings and revenue that exceeded analyst estimates, and raised its earnings, revenue and share-repurchase outlook for 2013.

Among other Dow components, Microsoft slipped 0.8% after the software giant's fiscal second-quarter adjusted earnings beat expectations but revenue fell a bit short amid weaker sales in its business and entertainment divisions.

AT&T reported fourth-quarter earnings that fell short of expectations but revenue that topped estimates, and provided an upbeat 2013 revenue-growth outlook. The telecom giant's stock was still inactive in the premarket.

Elsewhere, Starbucks advanced 3.7% after the coffee company's fiscal first-quarter earnings matched estimates, while global same-store sales rose more than expected.

European markets were broadly higher, with the Stoxx Europe 600 up 0.3% and on track for the highest close since February 2011, as strong data out of Germany and loan repayments by banks to the European Central Bank offset disappointing growth data out of the U.K.

The Ifo Institute's January German business-climate index rose to 104.2 from 102.4 in December, topping expectations of 103, suggesting the contraction the euro zone's largest economy may have ended.

Meanwhile, fourth-quarter U.K. gross domestic product contracted at a 0.3% rate versus expectations of a 0.1% decline.

Euro-zone banks indicated they would repay EUR137.12 billion in loans to the ECB two years early, more than the expected amount of EUR100 billion, a sign that funding conditions in the region have eased.

Asian markets were mixed, but Japan's Nikkei Stock Average soared 2.9% to the highest level seen since April 2010 as a sharp drop in the yen boosted exporter shares. China's Shanghai Composite fell 0.5%, while Australia's S&P ASX 200 rose 0.5% to the highest level since April 2011.

The yen fell to the lowest level against the dollar in 2 1/2 years, and to a 21-month low against the euro, amid recent comments by Japanese government officials that they favored a weaker yen.

The dollar lost ground against the euro.

Front-month March crude-oil futures added 0.3% to $96.27 a barrel, while January gold futures slipped 0.4% to $1,663 an ounce.

In other early stock movers, Tempur-Pedic ran up 17% after the mattress maker reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and revenue, offsetting a downbeat earnings outlook for 2013.

Bed-and-bedding maker Select Comfort slumped 18% after fourth-quarter earnings and revenue fell short of forecasts and its 2013 earnings outlook was below current analyst projections.

E*Trade Financial shed 4.2% after the online brokerage reported a wider-than-anticipated fourth-quarter loss, amid a decline in daily average revenue trades and heavy debt-extinguishment costs.

Halliburton gained 3% after the oil-services company reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and revenue as strength in its international regions offset lower activity levels in North America.

Honeywell reported fourth-quarter earnings that were in line with estimates and revenue that was slightly above, and affirmed its 2013 earnings outlook. The stock was still untraded ahead of the open.

KLA-Tencor climbed 2% after the semiconductor-equipment maker's fiscal second-quarter earnings topped estimates, although gross margin narrowed due to increased costs.

Flextronics fell 7.7% after the provider of electronics-manufacturing services provided current-quarter earnings and revenue outlook that was well below expectations, overshadowing fiscal third-quarter results that were slightly above forecasts.

Threshold Pharmaceuticals advanced 6.9% after the company said it received a $30 million milestone payment from its partner Merck KGaA, after a Merck division initiated a global Phase 3 study of Threshold's treatment for pancreatic cancer.

Write to Tomi Kilgore at tomi.kilgore@dowjones.com.

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