US STOCKS-Futures point to flat open, Dow coming off record close

by Reuters
Thursday, 1 May 2014 13:22 GMT

(Fixes reference to day in second paragraph to Wednesday from Thursday)

* Yelp shares up in premarket as revenue jumps

* AT&T approached DirecTV about possible acquisition: WSJ

* Data manufacturing, construction spending on tap

* Dow up 11 pts, S&P down 0.9 pt, Nasdaq up 9.75 pts

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, May 1 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat open on Thursday as investors paused following a rally in the previous session that took the Dow to its first record close of 2014.

* Wednesday's gains came as the Federal Reserve gave an upbeat view of the economy's prospects after its policymaking meeting, though concerns remained, including a read on first-quarter economic growth that was weaker than expected.

* Traders also continued to take their cue from corporate earnings. Health insurer Cigna Corp reported first-quarter earnings that beat expectations, while Cardinal Health's revenue was below forecasts, sending shares down 2.2 percent to $68 in premarket trading. Textron Inc's earnings fell from the prior year while revenue was nearly flat.

* Late Wednesday, Yelp Inc reported a 66 percent rise in quarterly revenue. Shares jumped 9.6 percent to $63.95 in premarket trading.

* Yelp's results were a positive report for Internet names, which have slumped recently on concerns that they, along with biotech "momentum" names, were overvalued. Those losses contributed to the Nasdaq's 2 percent decline in April, while the Dow rose 0.7 percent and the S&P 500 added 0.6 percent.

* U.S.-listed shares of Sony Corp fell 4.6 percent to $16.82 after the company cut its earnings outlook for the third time in a year, forecasting barely 10 percent of its initial outlook.

* S&P 500 futures fell 0.9 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 added 11 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 9.75 points.

* In the latest economic data, jobless claims unexpectedly rose in the latest week, though the underlying trend continued to point to improving labor market conditions. Separately, U.S. consumer spending recorded its largest increase in more than four and a half years in March.

* Construction spending and the Institute for Supply Management's April read on manufacturing are on tap for release at 10:00 a.m. (1400 GMT) Construction spending is seen rising 0.5 percent in March while manufacturing is expected to rise modestly from the prior month.

* The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the situation, reported that AT&T Inc had approached DirecTV about a possible acquisition. A deal would likely be worth at least $40 billion, it wrote. Shares of DirecTV rose 6.3 percent to $82.75 in premarket trading while AT&T edged lower.

* Wall Street closed mostly higher on Wednesday, lifted by the Fed's statements on the economy. The central bank also said it would reduce its monthly bond purchases to $45 billion from $55 billion, as expected. That will keep it on track to end the program as soon as October. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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