* Amazon rallies after results, Boeing ticks higher
* S&P 500 on track for best month since October 2011
* Fed to conclude meeting, no change in policy seen
* Futures: Dow flat, S&P down 0.7 pt, Nasdaq up 2 pts
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Jan 30 U.S. stock index futures were
flat on Wednesday as investors digested recent gains and awaited
key U.S. economic data, though Amazon and Boeing both rose after
earnings topped expectations.
Equities have soared in recent weeks, with the S&P 500
rising for nine of the past 10 sessions. The Dow Jones
industrial average has been flirting with 14,000, a level it
hasn't seen since October 2007. Many analysts have said markets
may need to take a pause at current levels.
The first read on U.S. fourth-quarter economic growth is due
at 8:30 a.m. (1330 GMT) Analysts see a 1.1 percent annualized
pace of growth in GDP, down from the 3.1 percent in the third
"I wouldn't read too much into the slowing from the third
quarter, since that was impacted by (superstorm) Sandy and the
fiscal cliff. The momentum in the data has been strong, which
could be enough to keep us grinding higher," said John Brady,
managing director at R.J. O'Brien & Associates in Chicago.
Traders will also look to the January ADP employment report,
which is expected to show 165,000 private-sector jobs were
created in the month, down from 215,000 in December. The report
precedes the closely watched nonfarm payroll report on Friday,
which is expected to show modest but steady job growth.
Amazon.com Inc was the latest high-profile name to
rally after results, rising 8.8 percent to $283.30 in premarket
trading a day after the online retailer reported
better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and strong revenue
growth. The rally put the stock within striking distance of an
Boeing Co rose 1 percent to $74.35 before the bell
after reporting adjusted fourth-quarter earnings that beat
expectations. The Dow component also said that while production
continued on its Dreamliner segment, which has had technical
problems recently, it was suspending delivery until clearance
was granted by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Thomson Reuters data showed that of the 174 companies in the
S&P 500 that have reported earnings this season, 68.4 percent
have been above analyst expectations, which is a higher
proportion than over the past four quarters and above the
average since 1994.
S&P 500 futures fell 0.7 point but remained 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 were flat
and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 2 points.
The S&P has been hovering around 1,500, a level market
technicians say is an inflection point that will determine the
overall direction in the near term. The benchmark index is on
track to post its best monthly performance since October 2011 as
investors poured $55 billion in new cash into stock mutual funds
and exchange-traded funds in January, the biggest monthly inflow
The Federal Reserve concludes a two-day meeting on
Wednesday, and while the central bank is expected to keep
monetary policy on a steady path, intensive debates continue
behind the scenes over when the controversial bond-buying
program should be curtailed.
In company news, Chesapeake Energy Corp rose 10.5
percent to $20.95 in premarket trading a day after saying Aubrey
McClendon would step down as chief executive after a year in
which a series of Reuters investigations triggered civil and
criminal probes of the second-largest U.S. natural gas producer.
U.S. stocks advanced on Tuesday, led by defensive sectors,
in a sign the cash piles recently moving into the market are
being put to use by cautious investors to pick up more gains.