Friday, March 25, 2011

US Stock Futures Rise On Tech Earnings, Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) Eyed

Opening Bell

US stock-index futures climbed on Friday as investors cheered better-than-expected corporate earnings.

At 8:32 am ET, the S&P 500 futures climbed 3 points to 1,308.20. The Dow Jones Industrial average futures advanced 25 points to 12,141. The Nasdaq Composite futures rose 6.75 points to 2,315.25.

The Commerce Department said Friday that  U.S. real gross domestic product for the fourth quarter was revised to an increase of 3.1% annualized from the earlier estimate of a 2.8% rise.

Oracle Corp. (NASDAQ: ORCL) said late Thursday that its fiscal third-quarter net income climbed to $2.1 billion, or 41 cents a share, compared to $1.19 billion, or 23 cents a share in the same period a year earlier. On an adjusted basis, the company earned 54 cents a share in the latest quarter. Revenue jumped 37% to $8.76 billion. The company also raised its quarterly dividend to 6 cents a share, from 5 cents. Oracle shares rallied more than 4% in pre-market trading.

After Thursday's closing bell, Research In Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM) said that its fourth quarter profit rose 32% to $934 million, or $1.78 a share, from $710 million, or $1.27 a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue rose 36% to $5.56 billion.  The company expects first-quarter earnings of $1.47 to $1.55 a share on $5.2 billion to $5.6 billion in revenue. The company expects first-quarter earnings of $1.47 to $1.55 a share on $5.2 billion to $5.6 billion in revenue. The company said its forecast reflects a greater mix of lower-end devices as well as additional spending related to the launch of its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet device next month. Shares of the Blackberrymaker plunged more than 11% in Friday's pre-market trading.

Accenture Plc (NYSE: ACN) said late Thursday that its fiscal second-quarter net income climbed to $503.02 million or $0.75 per share from $399.76 million or $0.60 per share in the previous year. Revenue grew 17 percent to $6.05 billion from $5.18 billion last year.

European stocks were little changed in afternoon trade. At 12:16 pm, the UK FTSE rose 4.26 points or 0.07% to 5,885.13. The German DAX and French CAC increased 0.15% and 0.15% respectively.

Asian stocks finished higher. The Nikkei 225 gained 101.12 points or 1.07% to 9,536.13. The Hang Seng index of Hong Kong jumped 243.39 points or 1.06% to 23,158.67.

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