NEW YORK (Reuters) – Nasdaq index futures fell on Wednesday after technology heavyweight Apple missed earnings expectations, while the broader market was little changed after a big run-up in the last session on a report Europe may beef up its crisis fund.
* Apple Inc’s results missed estimates for the first time in years as it sold far fewer iPhones than expected. Shares fell 5 percent to $402.05 in premarket trading.
* U.S. stocks surged in late trading Tuesday as buyers latched onto another report of an agreement to strengthen the euro zone’s rescue fund. The S&P 500 index has struggled to make progress as it approaches the top end of a two-month trading range at around 1,250.
* “Apple certainly is a surprise to the market although to some extent it may be mitigated by pushing orders from one quarter to another,” said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in New York.
* “Europe is still the biggest story in this market and the rumors yesterday of a large cash infusion are positive to the market on so many levels.”
* S&P 500 futures fell 0.6 point but were above 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 gained 16 points, but Nasdaq 100 futures dipped 12.75 points.
* Two senior European Union officials dismissed a report in Britain’s Guardian newspaper that France and Germany reached a deal to pump up the euro zone’s rescue fund by around five times to more than 2 trillion euros.
* Europe stayed in focus as Greek unions began a 48-hour general strike, the biggest protest in years, as parliament prepared to vote on sweeping austerity measures designed to stave off a default that could trigger a crisis in the region.
* Morgan Stanley swung to a $2.15 billion profit in the third quarter, helped by a large accounting gain, even as core revenue in trading, banking and wealth management operations fell, it said early Wednesday.
* Earnings are also due from American Express Co , United Technologies Corp , Abbott Laboratoriesand eBay Inc .
* Ahead of Friday’s annual meeting, a growing number of big shareholders in News Corp are considering sending a strong message of discontent to Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch by voting against several long-standing board members, including sons James and Lachlan.
* The Labor Department releases the Consumer Price Index for September at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Economists expected a 0.3 percent rise, compared with a 0.4 percent increase in August.
* Housing starts and permits for September are due at 8:30 a.m. from the Commerce Department. Economists forecast a 590,000 annualized rate September versus 571,000 in August, and a total of 610,000 permits in September, compared with 625,000 in the prior month.
* Also at 8:30 a.m., the Labor Department issues Real Earnings for September. Economists expect a 0.2 percent rise versus a 0.8 percent fall in August. The Federal Reserve releases its latest Beige Book at 1600 GMT.
* Yahoo Inc lived up to lackluster third-quarter expectations, but the struggling Internet portal was tight-lipped about efforts to find a new chief executive or buyer for the company.
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)