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updated: 7/31/2014 8:04 AM

U.S. Index futures slide as Whole foods, Kraft fall on earnings

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Bloomberg News

U.S. stock-index futures declined, signaling the Standard & Poor's Index will trim its monthly gain, amid earnings at companies from Whole Foods Market Inc. to Northfield-based Kraft Foods Group Inc., while Argentina missed a debt payment.

Whole Foods Market Inc. dropped 4 percent in in early New York trading after lowering its 2014 revenue forecast. Kraft Foods Group Inc. and Time Warner Cable Inc. declined in Germany after reporting that quarterly results missed analysts' estimates. Allstate Corp. added 2.6 percent late yesterday after posting earnings that beat projections.

S&P 500 futures expiring in September slid 0.7 percent to 1,951.8 at 7:48 a.m. in New York. The gauge closed little changed yesterday as weaker earnings and the Federal Reserve's decision to keep trimming asset purchases offset better-than- forecast economic growth. Dow Jones Industrial Average contracts lost 104 points, or 0.6 percent, to 16,717 today.

"We're seeing the market consolidate on last night's FOMC decision, people want to take some profit off the table," Nick Skiming, who helps manage $10 billion at Ashburton Ltd., said in a phone interview from Jersey, in the Channel Islands. "Earnings overall have been tracking slightly higher than expected. Next quarter may disappoint because earnings have been rising on a comparative basis. Argentina may well have an impact on sentiment."

Stimulus Cut

The Fed yesterday cut its monthly bond buying to $25 billion in its sixth consecutive $10-billion reduction, staying on pace to end the purchase program in October. A Commerce Department report showed gross domestic product expanded at a 4 percent annual pace in the second quarter, confirming the central bank's view that a first-quarter contraction was transitory.

Argentina missed a deadline yesterday to pay $539 million in interest after two full days of negotiations in New York failed to produce an accord with creditors from its last default in 2001. A U.S. judge ruled that the payment couldn't be made unless those investors, a group of hedge funds led by Elliott Management Corp., got the $1.5 billion they claimed. Standard & Poor's said Argentina is in default.

The S&P 500 has climbed 0.5 percent in July, heading for a sixth straight monthly gain, as companies from Facebook Inc. to Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. reported a surge in profit, while Time Warner Inc. rallied as Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox Inc. made a takeover offer.

Earnings Season

Fifty-one S&P 500 companies report quarterly earnings today, including Exxon Mobil Corp., MasterCard Inc. and Colgate- Palmolive Co. About 75 percent of those that have released results this seasons have topped analysts' estimates for profit, while 66 percent have exceeded sales projections.

A Labor Department report at 8:30 a.m. Washington time may show that initial jobless claims rose to 300,000 in the week ended July 26 from 284,000 in the previous period, according to the median economist forecast in a Bloomberg News survey.

Whole Foods dropped 4 percent to $37.55. The largest U.S. natural-goods grocer said sales will climb 9.6 percent to 9.9 percent this fiscal year, less than the previous forecast for a gain of as much as 11 percent. The company cited increased competition from new competitors.

Kraft lost 2.7 percent to $55.67 after reporting second- quarter sales of $4.75 billion, missing the average analyst projection of $4.83 billion.

Time Warner Cable dropped 1 percent to $149.85. The cable company that's merging with Comcast Corp. posted second-quarter earnings excluding some items of $1.89 a share, falling short of the estimated $1.90 on average.

Yum! Brands Inc. slid 6 percent to $68.60 in pre-market U.S. trading. The owner of Pizza Hut and KFC said it cut ties with meat supplier OSI Group LLC globally after previously saying it would stop using it China, Australia and the U.S.

Allstate added 2.6 percent to $58.39. The largest publicly traded U.S. property-casualty insurer said net income rose to $614 million in the second quarter from $434 million. Operating income, which excludes some investment results, was $1.01 a share, beating the 65-cent average analyst estimate.

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