US STOCKS-Futures little changed after China, German data

Fri Feb 8, 2013 12:26pm GMT

* China, German data positive

* International trade, wholesale inventory data on tap

* Futures: Dow off 13 pts, S&P up 0.9 pt, Nasdaq up 4.5 pts

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Feb 8 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed Friday following economic data out of China and Germany, though the benchmark S&P index appeared to remain on track for its first weekly drop of the year.

* Data showed Chinese exports grew 25 percent in January from a year earlier versus a forecast of 17 percent in a Reuters poll, while imports climbed 28.8 percent, highlighting robust domestic demand.

* German data showed the country's surplus in 2012 was at its second highest in more than 60 years, in an indication of the underlying strength of Europe's biggest economy.

* Comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi about the strength of the euro Thursday kindled concern about the euro zone economy and sent U.S. equities lower.

* U.S. economic data due out on Friday includes December international trade at 8:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT) and wholesale inventories for December at 10:00 a.m. (1500 GMT).

* Economists in a Reuters poll expect a trade deficit of $46.0 billion versus a $48.7 billion deficit in November while inventories are expected to be up 0.4 percent versus a 0.6 percent increase in November.

* The S&P 500 has risen for five straight weeks and is up 5.8 percent for the year. Its advance was helped by legislators in Washington averting a series of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes earlier in the year, as well as better-than-expected corporate earnings and data that pointed to modest economic improvement but no immediate change in the Federal Reserve's stimulus plans.

* The index has found it tougher to climb in recent days as it hovers near five-year highs.

* S&P 500 futures rose 0.9 point and were slightly above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures lost 13 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 4.5 points.

* According to Thomson Reuters data through Thursday morning, of 317 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings, 69 percent have exceeded analysts' expectations, above a 62 percent average since 1994 and 65 percent over the past four quarters.

* Fourth-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies grew 5 percent, according to the data, above a 1.9 percent forecast at the start of the earnings season.

* European shares rose to recover from sharp falls the previous session, as robust Chinese trade data boosted expectations the global economy would strengthen and in turn maintain demand for equities.

* Asian shares rose after China's strong trade data set the scene for economic recovery, although investors opted to book profit ahead of the Chinese new year holidays next week, limiting gains.