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Stocks may get Citi lift

Futures turn higher after bank reports less of a loss than analysts expected, countering concerns about Merrill, Google and Microsoft.

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- U.S. stock futures turned higher Friday after Citigroup's quarterly loss turned out to be not quite as bad as Wall Street expected.

On the negative side, investors digested an array of tough quarterly results from Merrill Lynch, Google and Microsoft, and sent mortgage backers Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae lower on a report that Freddie may sell some stock.

At 8:05 a.m. ET, Nasdaq and S&P futures were higher, suggesting Wall Street gains once the market opens.

Financials Stocks rallied for a second straight session Thursday, supported by a hefty decline in oil prices. Solid results from JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500) also helped bank shares climb.

Before the market opened Friday, Dow component Citigroup (C, Fortune 500) posted a loss of $2.5 billion on writedowns and soaring credit costs. Wall Street had been expecting a wider loss of $2.8 billion.

That helped counter the sour news from Merrill Lynch (MER, Fortune 500), which reported a wider-than-expected loss of $4.9 billion after the market close Thursday.

Mortgages Freddie Mac (FRE, Fortune 500) fell 5% and Fannie Mae (FNM, Fortune 500) slipped 1% in pre-market trading following a report from The Wall Street Journal that Freddie is considering a plan to raise new capital by selling up to $10 billion in new shares.

Such a plan could allow Freddie to avoid a government bailout.

Together, Fannie and Freddie own or back about $5 trillion worth of mortgage debt, or half the U.S. market. The stock for both these companies has plunged more than 70% year-to-date in the wake of the collapsing housing market.

Techs A number of tech titans posted results late Thursday that fell short of analysts' estimates.

Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) and Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) both missed Wall Street's expectations, as did chipmaker AMD (AMD, Fortune 500). IBM (IBM, Fortune 500), however, topped estimates.

Energy Oil prices rebounded after sliding for the past three sessions. In electronic trading, crude futures climbed above $130 a barrel.

Other markets Stocks in Asia erased early gains and finished the session lower. Major European markets fell in morning trading. To top of page

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