09:05 am : S&P futures vs fair value: -3.50. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -12.80. Energy prices are under pressure while precious metals trade mixed this morning. Specifically, oil prices are down 1.3% to $99.22 per barrel in the opening minutes of pit trade. Meanwhile, natural gas continues to come under concerted selling pressure, such that the energy component now trades at $2.35 per MMBtu for a 0.7% loss. Following the close of pit trade yesterday the contract fell as low as $2.33 per MMBtu in electronic trade to log its lowest level in nearly 10 years. Gold prices are currently down about 0.1% to $1652 per ounce, while silver is stuck at $30.50 per ounce, leaving it unchanged for the session.
Google shares off 8% premarket after report
(6:59 AM ET) NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Google Inc. GOOG -7.64% shares were off 8% in premarket trading on Friday after the Mountain View, Calif., web-search firm reported that fourth-quarter earnings rose 6% but missed analysts’ forecasts. Late Thursday, Google reported earnings of $8.22 a share, or an adjusted $9.50, compared with $7.81 in the year-earlier quarter. A survey of analysts by FactSet Research had estimated the company would earn $10.51 a share. Google executives attributed the earnings miss to a number of factors, including foreign-currency translations and an impairment charge. Operating expenses also were heavy, up 35%, as the company added more than 1,000 staffers. On the upside, paid clicks — the number of times Google users click on the firm’s ads — rose 34% in the quarter.
GE posts lower profit, sees continued volatility
(6:49 AM ET) LONDON (MarketWatch) — General Electric GE -2.30% on Friday posted a fourth-quarter net profit of $3.8 billion, or 35 cents a share, down from $4.8 billion, or 42 cents a share, a year earlier. On an operating basis, earnings came in at 39 cents a share. Revenue slipped to $38.0 billion from $41.2 billion, a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet Research were looking for the conglomerate to report a profit, on average, of 38 cents a share on sales of just over $40 billion. “We are confident in our 2012 framework to realize double-digit earnings growth in our Industrial and Capital segments, increase margins and provide dividend growth to our shareholders in line with earnings,” GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said. He warned, however, that he expects “continued volatility” in 2012 and that GE is restructuring its businesses in Europe to reflect market conditions.
Schlumberger net up 35%, revenue up 21%
(6:27 AM ET) NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Schlumberger Ltd., SLB +1.15% the Houston energy-services firm, reported fourth-quarter net income rose 35% on 21% higher revenue. Earnings reached $1.41 billion, or $1.05 a share, from $1.04 billion, or 76 cents, in the year-earlier quarter. Adjusted earnings from continuing operations were $1.11 a share versus 85 cents. Revenue totaled $10.97 billion compared with $9.07 billion. A survey of analysts by FactSet Research produced consensus estimates of $1.09 a share of profit on $10.78 billion of revenue. The outlook for 2012 is unclear “due to the continuing sovereign-debt crisis in Europe,” which pressures GDP and oil-demand forecasts, Chief Executive Paal Kibsgaard said in a Friday statement.
Google’s fourth-quarter earnings rose 6.3% as the Internet giant’s revenue grew at the slowest rate of 2011. Shares in Google, a company that seldom misses consensus earnings estimates, plunged 8.3% to $586.53 in premarket trading as per-share earnings and revenue were both short of expectations.
Microsoft’s fiscal second-quarter profit slipped 0.2% as the software giant recorded lower sales in its Windows and Windows Live segment, though revenue rose in its other divisions. Microsoft shares climbed 2.6% to $28.84 in recent premarket trading as per-share earnings beat analysts’ expectations.
General Electric’s fourth-quarter earnings slipped 18% on a bigger-than-expected drop in revenue and as discontinued operations weighed on the conglomerate’s results following its sale of a majority stake in NBC Universal last year. Shares fell 2.4% to $18.69 in recent premarket trading.
International Business Machines Corp.’s fourth-quarter earnings rose 4.4% as higher software and services revenue offset a decline in its hardware business. Shares were up 2.6% to $185.20 in recent premarket trading as the company projected 2012 earnings above expectations.
Schlumberger Ltd.’s fourth-quarter earnings rose 36% as the oil-field services company saw revenue jump in North America. Shares climbed 0.5% to $73.22 premarket.
American Express Co.’s fourth-quarter earnings rose 12% as cardholder spending kept rising and the company booked higher revenue, though loan-loss provisions increased and revenue fell short of analysts’ expectations. Shares slipped 2.1% to $49.90 premarket.
Capital One Financial Corp.’s fourth-quarter profit fell a surprise 42% as the card-issuer-turned bank reported higher provisions for losses on loans. Shares slid 5.7% to $46 premarket on the weaker-than-expected results.
Carnival Corp. said it would review its safety and emergency-response procedures across its cruise lines after a fatal vessel incident, with the leader of the cruise operator vowing that such a tragedy wouldn’t happen again. Shares fell 3.7% to $30.73 in recent premarket trading.
Fifth Third Bancorp’s fourth-quarter earnings fell 5.7% as revenue sank, though the regional bank reduced its loan-loss provisions and charge-offs amid a tighter lending environment. Shares dropped 3.4% to $13.10 premarket.
Intuitive Surgical Inc.’s fourth-quarter earnings rose 25% as the surgical-robot maker reported more widespread use of its da Vinci surgery machines. But shares were down 4.6% at $452.80 in premarket trading.
Economics, FedSpeak and Eurozone Follies:
- 10:00 a.m. ET: Existing home sales for December. Economists think sales rose to a 4.6 million unit annualized pace from 4.42 million in November.