* China, Europe PMIs lift sentiment
* 3M boosts Dow after earnings
* Jobless claims data on tap
* Futures: S&P down 3.7 pts, Dow up 15 pts, Nasdaq off 34.75
By Edward Krudy
NEW YORK, Jan 24 U.S. stock index futures fell
Thursday as Apple slid nearly 10 percent following a revenue
miss, and analysts said equities may be due for a pullback after
a six-day rally for the S&P 500.
Apple Inc missed Wall Street's revenue forecast for
a third straight quarter after iPhone sales came in below
expectations, fanning fears its dominance of consumer
electronics is slipping. The shares dropped 8.8 percent to
$468.64 in premarket trading, wiping out about $50 billion of
its market value.
However, some positive economic news looked set to put a
floor under stock prices. Growth in Chinese manufacturing
accelerated to a two-year high this month and a buoyant Germany
took the euro zone economy a step closer to recovery, business
surveys showed on Thursday.
"The march to 1,500 on the S&P is looking quite strong, the
question is will Apple be the spoiler?" said Peter Cardillo,
chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.
"My guess is that while Nasdaq might suffer losses today,
both the Dow and the S&P may do otherwise based on economic news
out of China and Europe."
The S&P 500 rose for a sixth day on Wednesday after
stronger-than-expected profits from IBM and Google
. But Apple could now halt that rally, which had lifted
stocks to five-year highs.
S&P 500 futures fell 3.7 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 rose 15
points and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 34.75 points.
Apple's disappointing results drew a round of price-target
cuts from brokerages. At least seven brokerages, including
Barclays Capital, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank, cut their
price target on the stock by $142 on average to $617.80. Morgan
Stanley removed the stock from its 'best ideas' list.
Helping the Dow industrials, diversified U.S. manufacturer
3M Co reported a 3.9 percent rise in profit on solid
growth in sales of its wide array of products, which range from
Post-It notes to films used in television screens. The shares
rose 0.7 percent in premarket trading.
Corporate earnings have helped drive the recent stock market
rally. Thomson Reuters data through Wednesday showed that of the
99 S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings, 67.7 percent
have exceeded expectations, above the 65 percent average over
the past four quarters.
Investors in U.S.-based mutual funds pumped $9.32 billion
into stock funds in the week ended Jan. 16, the second
consecutive week of inflows for such funds, data from the
Investment Company Institute showed Wednesday.
Netflix Inc surprised Wall Street Wednesday with a
quarterly profit after the video subscription service added
nearly 4 million customers in the U.S. and abroad. Shares jumped
nearly 40 percent in premarket trading.
Removing another element of political uncertainty from
markets, the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a
Republican plan to allow the federal government to keep
borrowing money through mid-May, clearing it for fast enactment
after the top Senate Democrat and White House endorsed it.