Stock index futures point to lower open

Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:16am EDT
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(Reuters) - Stock index futures pointed to a slightly lower open on Wall Street on Wednesday, with futures for the S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq 100 down between 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent at 6:47 a.m. EDT (1047 GMT).

European shares drifted lower as losses in utilities, led by Iberdrola (IBE.MC: Quote) after ACS (ACS.MC: Quote) sold a stake, outweighed strength in miners spurred by a BHP Billiton (BLT.L: Quote) production report.

LVMH (LVMH.PA: Quote), the world's biggest luxury goods group, said first-quarter revenue grew 25 percent thanks to particularly strong growth in Asia and the United States, as wealthy shoppers shrugged off anxiety over global economic recovery.

Copper prices edged higher, holding above $8,000 a metric tonne (1.1 ton), as surging shares in China helped boost sentiment, but gains were kept in check by lingering caution about the euro zone debt crisis and a stronger dollar.

Gold eased, having fallen for the past three trading days, as the euro came under pressure from worries about the euro zone.

Spain should take a rise in its bond yields as a spur to tackle the root causes of its debt woes, not look to the European Central Bank to help by buying its bonds, European Central Bank policymaker Jens Weidmann told Reuters.

BlackRock, the world's largest money manager, is expected to report a slight increase in profits even as revenue dipped. Aggressive cost-cutting and growth of high-margin Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) helped.

BNY Mellon, the world's largest custody bank, reports first-quarter earnings as investors watch for any negative foreign exchange trading trends amid accusations that the bank overcharged pension fund clients.

American Express is expected to post slightly higher quarterly earnings per share - at $1.0 compared to $0.97 a year earlier - though comparisons to the year-ago results may be out of whack since Amex was releasing money set aside to cover bad loans last year. Also, analysts expect provisioning to increase. Expense growth is likely to slow as the company completes investments in its e-commerce payment gateway business.   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, April 17, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid