Thursday, September 13, 2007

Stock Futures Slip; Jobs Data on Deck

By Lauren Villagran, AP Business Writer

Thursday September 13, 7:26 am ET

Stock Futures Slip, Point to Flat to Modestly Lower Open As Investors Await Joblessness Data

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stock futures pointed toward a modestly lower open Thursday as investors, with little economic news to guide them during the session, were making few moves before next week's Federal Reserve meeting.

The market will be parsing the Labor Department report on jobless claims, which will be of particular interest after the government last week reported payrolls in August declined for the first time in four years. That drop raised concerns about how businesses weathered the recent market turmoil and credit tightness. Low unemployment, at 4.6 percent, has been one of the economy's strengths.

But unless the jobless claims number is sharply higher, trading is likely to remain muted, as it was on Wednesday. Many investors are refraining from any major moves before Tuesday's Fed meeting; Wall Street has grown confident the Fed will cut its benchmark federal funds rate by a quarter percentage point.

Dow Jones industrial futures slipped 33, or 0.20 percent, to 13,396. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures fell 4.60, or 0.31 percent, to 1,471.60, and Nasdaq 100 index futures fell 2.25, or 0.11 percent, to 1,994.00.

The Dow fell 16.74 points on Wednesday, while broader indexes finished narrowly mixed.

Meanwhile, European equity markets sagged. Britain's FTSE 100 declined 0.22 percent, Germany's DAX index fell 0.35 percent and France's CAC-40 shed 0.28 percent.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei stock average ended modestly higher, up 0.15 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.93 percent.

The yield on government bonds rose, as prices fell. The 10-year Treasury note yielded 4.43 percent early Thursday, up from 4.41 percent late Wednesday.

In the commodities market, crude oil prices retreated slightly premarket from the all-time highs above $80 a barrel marked on Wednesday. Gold prices fell as the U.S. dollar bounced off an all-time low against the euro on Thursday. The 13-nation currency fetched $1.392 amid expectations for a U.S. interest rate cut.

No comments: