* China, German data positive
* International trade, wholesale inventory data on tap
* LinkedIn surges after earnings, outlook
* Futures: Dow off 13 pts, S&P flat pt, Nasdaq up 6 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Feb 8 U.S. stock index futures were
little changed Friday following economic data out of China and
Germany, though the benchmark S&P index, near five-year highs,
was on track for its first weekly drop of the year.
Data showed Chinese exports grew more than expected in
January, while imports climbed 28.8 percent, highlighting robust
domestic demand, while German data showed a 2012 surplus that
was the nation's second highest in more than 60 years, an
indication of the underlying strength of Europe's biggest
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.
"Not enough to move the needle here and the norm of just
about anything we put in front of investors this week," said Art
Hogan, managing director of Lazard Capital Markets in New York.
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, hovering near five-year highs, has found it
tougher to climb in recent days as investors await strong
trading incentives to drive it further upward.
"The market has gotten to a point where we are going to need
a significant positive catalyst to take us through the next
level of resistance, but the good news is we tested the new
levels of support right around 1,504 on the S&P multiple times
and we've held," said Hogan.
S&P 500 futures were unchanged and slightly 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 lost 13
points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 6 points.
LinkedIn Corp jumped 10.6 percent to $137.28 in
premarket trading after announcing both blow-out quarterly
profits and a bullish forecast for the new year that exceeded
Wall Street's already lofty expectations.
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, recovering from a fall the previous
session, as strong Chinese data boosted hopes that the global
economy will strengthen and fuel demand for equities.
Asian shares also rose after China's data set the scene for
economic recovery, although investors opted to book profit ahead
of the Chinese new year holidays next week, limiting gains.