Nov. 15 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stock-index futures trimmed losses after reports on retail sales and New York-area manufacturing topped economists’ estimates.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index expiring next month slipped 0.7 percent to 1,243.6 at 8:33 a.m. in New York after tumbling as much as 1.5 percent earlier.
The 0.5 percent gain in retail sales last month followed a 1.1 percent increase for September, Commerce Department figures showed today. The median forecast of 81 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was a rise of 0.3 percent. Purchases of electronics jumped by the most in two years.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s general economic index rose to 0.6, the first positive reading since May, from minus 8.5 in October. Economists projected the gauge would rise to minus 2, based on the median of 48 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey. Readings higher than zero signal companies in the so-called Empire State Index, which covers New York, northern New Jersey, and southern Connecticut, are expanding.
U.S. stocks snapped a two-day rally yesterday as higher bond yields in Italy and Spain fueled concern that Europe will fail to tame its debt crisis. Earlier losses in futures today came as the euro weakened, the cost of insuring French bonds climbed to a record and Spanish yields rose at an auction.
The S&P 500 has rallied 14 percent from its low for the year on Oct. 3 as improving earnings and better-than-estimated economic data eased concern that Europe’s crisis will drag the world’s largest economy into a recession.
Net income rose 15 percent on an 11 percent increase in sales for the 436 companies in the S&P 500 that reported results since Oct. 11, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Per-share earnings beat estimates at 73 percent of the companies.
The Citigroup Economic Surprise Index for the U.S. rose yesterday to 36.5, the highest level since April 5. The gauge measures whether data is beating or trailing economists’ estimates and has increased from a more-than two-year low of minus 117.2 on June 3.
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