* Google and IBM both rally in premarket after results
* S&P has risen for 5 straight sessions, at multi-year highs
* Apple results due after market closes, along with Netflix
* Futures: Dow flat, S&P down 1.8 pt, Nasdaq up 3.5 pts
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Jan 23 U.S. stock index futures were
flat on Wednesday, with investors reluctant to make big bets
following a five-day rally that took major averages to levels
not seen since December 2007.
* Tech shares will be in focus following strong results from
both IBM and Google, which rallied in premarket and continued
the string of major companies outperforming following results.
* Investors were also cautious as they awaited another
onslaught of earnings reports, including from Dow components
McDonald's Corp and United Technologies. Apple
Inc reports after the market closes and investors will
scour that report for signs the company can continue to grow at
an accelerated pace.
* Google Inc rose 5.1 percent to $738.61 in light
premarket trading a day after the search giant's core Internet
business outpaced expectations. Revenue was also higher than
* International Business Machines Corp late Tuesday
forecast better-than-anticipated 2013 results and also posted
fourth-quarter earnings and revenue that beat expectations. The
results helped to allay concerns about the tech sector that
arose when Intel Corp gave a weak outlook last week.
IBM, which is a Dow component, rose 3.9 percent to $203.81
before the bell.
* According to the latest Thomson Reuters data, of the 74
S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings so far, 62.2
percent have topped expectations, roughly even with the 62
percent average since 1994, but below the 65 percent average
over the past four quarters.
* Overall, S&P 500 fourth-quarter earnings are forecast to
have risen 2.6 percent. That estimate is above the 1.9 percent
forecast from the start of earnings season, but well below the
9.9 percent fourth-quarter earnings forecast from Oct. 1, the
* S&P 500 futures fell 1.8 point and were below 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 were flat
points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 3.5 points.
* Both the S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrial average hit
five-year closing highs on Tuesday, and recent gains have
largely been fueled by a strong start to the earning season. The
S&P has jumped 6.4 percent over the past four weeks.
* Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives
aim on Wednesday to pass a bill to extend the U.S. debt limit by
nearly four months, to May 19. The White House welcomed the
move, saying it would remove uncertainty about the issue.
* The debt limit issue has been viewed as a market overhang
for the past few weeks, with many investors worried that if no
deal is reached to raise the limit, it could have a negative
impact on the economy.
* Bank and commodity shares led the benchmark Standard &
Poor's 500 Index to a fresh five-year closing high on Tuesday on
hopes that the global economy continues to mend.