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U.S. stock futures flat before IBM, Yahoo earningsTue Apr 18, 2006 7:02 AM ET

By Vivianne Rodrigues

NEW YORK, April 18 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat market opening on Tuesday as concerns over record oil prices offset expectations of strong results by companies, including Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and International Business Machines Corp. (IBM.N: Quote, Profile, Research)

IBM, the world's biggest computer company, Internet media company Yahoo, cell phone maker Motorola (MOT.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and chip manufacturer Texas Instruments (TXN.N: Quote, Profile, Research) are among the companies expected to report quarterly results on Tuesday.

Dow component Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N: Quote, Profile, Research), and banks Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. (MER.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and State Street Corp. (STT.N: Quote, Profile, Research) are also among the top names due to report later on Tuesday.

Anxiety that Iran's nuclear standoff with the West could cut oil exports from the world's fourth-largest crude exporter has pushed oil prices to new record highs and may reduce the appetite for other assets, such as equities, money managers said.

"Earnings will be coming in full gear today, but even if they were to be good, stock investors will question the sustainability of such results given high oil prices," said Andre Bakhos, president at the Princeton Financial Group.

S&P 500 futures <SPc1> were up 0.90 point, above fair value, a mathematical formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract.

Dow Jones industrial average futures <DJc1> were up 8 points, and Nasdaq 100 <NDc1> futures fell 2.25 points.

Crude oil surged to a record of $70.88 per barrel on Tuesday as Iran and the West exchanged increasingly sharp words over the Islamic Republic's determination to push ahead with a nuclear program.

Investors will also focus on economic data, including a government report that may show producer prices rose 0.4 percent in March after a 1.4 percent drop in the previous month, according to a Reuters poll. [ID:nN17271196] Excluding food and energy costs, prices likely rose 0.2 percent last month compared with a 0.3 percent rise in February. The Labor Department report is due at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT).

The Federal Reserve will release the minutes of its last rate-setting meeting in March at 2 p.m. (1800 GMT)

Stocks fell on Monday, with the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> down 63.87 points, or 0.57 percent, at 11,073.78. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 3.79 points, or 0.29 percent, at 1,285.33. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 14.95 points, or 0.64 percent, at 2,311.16.

Quelle: http://today.reuters.com/investing/...29_RTRIDST_0_MARKETS-STOCKS.XML 

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