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Pre-Market: Hewlett-Packard Computer Sales Rise; Stocks Higher Ahead of Housing Data


H-P shares were up in pre-market trading after the company delivered earnings that beat expectations.

Futures for the major stock indices were up on Friday morning after ending Thursday higher, boosted by positive manufacturing data. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) advanced 0.22% to 16,135. b (INDEXSP:.INX) futures rose 0.23% to 1,804.50. Barring any sudden drop today, the S&P 500 will end its third straight week up. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures were up 0.24% at 3,680.25.

US stock index futures were poised to open higher before a housing market data report.

Shares of Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) could be in focus after the company reported that its PC business is improving. When Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) ended XP support, a lot of businesses had no choice but to upgrade.

Hewlett-Packard shares were up 1.2% in pre-market trading after the company delivered earnings. Earnings rose 16% to $0.90 per share, beating expectations by $0.06. Revenue fell to $28.2 billion from $28.4 billion a year ago, a less severe drop than expected.

The PC business, which has been in decline due to cannibalization of the market by smartphones and tablets, improved 4% over the quarter after falling 2% in the previous quarter. It is possible that Microsoft's decision to end support for Windows XP spurred PC upgrades at organizations with aging fleets of computers.

H-P also raised the lower end of its full-year earnings forecast. It now expects between $3.60 and $3.75 per share in profit.

Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) shares fell 12.2% despite reporting record performance in the past quarter. The daily deals site had a net per share loss of $0.12, mostly due to a failed investment in China. Excluding one-time items, it earned $0.04 per share, beating estimates by $0.02. Revenue rose 20% to $768.4 million. Groupon's high-margin daily deals business fell 3%, while the low-margin direct sales unit grew 50%.

Dish Network Corp (NASDAQ:DISH) advanced 3.4% after the company reported that profit rose 38% to $0.63 per share as it added 654,000 pay-TV subscribers.

In US economics, existing home sales are expected to show a downturn in January, due to the harsh winter weather. Economists expect sales of previously built homes to fall to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 4.65 million from 4.87 million in December 2013. New-home sales plunged in January.

The turmoil in Ukraine continued last night despite President Yanukovich's promise to accept snap elections and limits to his power, but the Kiev protesters want more concessions. The death toll of the conflict is fast approaching 100. Standard & Poor's downgraded the country's debt rating for the second time in three weeks today. S&P says that Ukraine is at risk of default and bankruptcy if Russia doesn't come to its aid in the bond market. Ukraine recently cancelled a debt auction.

Group of 20 finance ministers will meet in Australia this weekend to discuss the fallout of the Federal Reserve's decision to taper its bond-buying program. A high-level meeting of the contentious Trans-Pacific Partnership will be held in Singapore.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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