January 29, 2010 / 12:56 PM / 8 years ago

US STOCKS-Futures higher after Microsoft results, 4Q GDP due

* Fourth-quarter GDP report on tap, 4.6 pct growth seen

* Reuters/Univ. of Michigan consumer sentiment data due

* Chevron to report results

* Futures up: Dow 18 pts, S&P 3.2 pts, Nasdaq 4.75 pts

* For up-to-the-minute market news, click [STXNEWS/US]

(Updates prices, adds quote and Honeywell)

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, Jan 29 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Friday after forecast-topping profit reports from Microsoft Corp and Amazon.com Inc and ahead of a reading on the U.S. fourth-quarter gross domestic product.

The government’s first estimate on fourth-quarter GDP is expected to show the U.S. economy grew at a 4.6 percent rate, the fastest pace in nearly four years as businesses cut back less aggressively on inventories. The data is due at 8:30 a.m. (1330 GMT).

“The best thing for the market would be for GDP to come in in-line, since that would show that we’re in a steady recovery,” said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management in New York.

“If it comes in a lot higher, we could see an initial burst in the futures but then lose that as it could bring back concerns about interest rates and the government removing stimulus.”

The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago PMI data and the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers final consumer sentiment reading, both for January, are also on tap for later in the day. The Chicago PMI, while still showing an expansionary reading above 50, is expected to dip to 57.4 from 58.7 in December. The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer survey is expected to tick up slightly to 73.0 from a reading of 72.5 in late December, according to a poll of economists by Reuters.

Technology stocks will be in focus one day after Microsoft (MSFT.O) and Amazon.com (AMZN.O) reported quarterly results that beat expectations. Microsoft, a Dow component, expects business technology spending to recover in 2010, while Amazon forecast strong 2010 revenue.

Shares of Microsoft gained 1.7 percent to $29.66 in premarket trading while Amazon climbed 2.9 percent to $129.69. [ID:nN27150165] and [ID:nN19226206]

S&P 500 SPc1 futures rose 3.2 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration of the contract. Dow Jones industrial average DJc1 futures gained 18 points, and Nasdaq 100 NDc1 futures added 4.75 points.

Honeywell International Inc (HON.N) reported a slight decline in its fourth-quarter profit, while Mattel Inc (MAT.O) reported better-than-expected profit in its holiday season. [ID:nN29134579] [ID:nN29109663]

Dow component Chevron Corp (CVX.N) is also scheduled to report results.

Fast food giant McDonald’s Corp (MCD.N) expects to boost capital investment in China by about one-quarter this year to tap growth in the world’s third-largest economy, its China chief executive said. [ID:nTOE60P05U]

The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted to confirm Ben Bernanke for another four-year term despite misgivings over what some saw as policy missteps. While the confirmation was expected, recent doubts about his support created an overhang for equities. [ID:nN27143856]

In overseas trading, Japan’s Nikkei average .N225 fell 2.1 percent to a six-week closing low on Friday, while European stocks rose broadly in morning trade.

U.S. stocks dropped on Thursday, as poor outlooks from Motorola Inc MOT.N and Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) dented optimism in the technology sector

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