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U.S. Stock-Index Futures Are Little Changed Before Output Data

Feb. 14 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stock-index futures were little changed, with equities heading for a second weekly gain, before data that may reveal weakening industrial-output growth and consumer confidence in the world’s largest economy.

American International Group Inc. rose in pre-market New York trading after boosting its dividend and posting profit that beat estimates. Weight Watchers International Inc. plunged 21 percent after quarterly earnings missed analysts’ projections.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index expiring in March slipped less than 0.1 percent to 1,824.1 at 10:55 a.m. in London. The equities benchmark has gained 5.1 percent from a three-month low on Feb. 3 as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen signaled the central bank is on track to taper stimulus. Dow Jones Industrial Average contracts added 1 point, less than 0.1 percent, to 15,980 today.

“Data has been quite mixed since the start of the year,” Julian Chillingworth, who helps oversee about $37 billion as chief investment officer at Rathbone Brothers Plc in London, said in an interview. “The U.S. economy will probably be fine this year. But the year will be about the good news versus the bad news and not so much the straight line up we had in 2013.”

U.S. industrial production rose 0.2 percent in January, after climbing 0.3 percent in December, economists in a Bloomberg survey predicted before a report at 9:15 a.m. in Washington. A separate release 40 minutes later may show consumer confidence is weakening for a second month. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary sentiment index will fall to 80.2 in February from 81.2 in January, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Earnings Scorecard

Seven S&P 500-listed companies including VF Corp. are reporting earnings today. Seventy-six percent of the 392 companies that have posted results this season beat analysts’ estimates for profit and 65 percent exceeded sales projections, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

AIG rose 0.5 percent to $49.85. The New York-based insurer raised its quarterly dividend by 25 percent to 12.5 cents a share and authorized another $1 billion for stock buyback. Fourth-quarter operating earnings per share increased to $1.15, exceeding analysts’ projection for 97 cents.

Weight Watchers sank 21 percent to $24.20. Fourth-quarter adjusted earnings per share was 58 cents, missing the 61 cents estimated by analysts. Full-year earnings will be between $1.30 and $1.60 per share, the weight-control program provider said.

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