MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Opening View: Futures Lower Ahead of Federal Open Market Committee Meeting

U.S. stock futures are lower this morning, indicative of a potentially negative start to the regular session. Overseas trading is once again ailing, as steelmakers lead laggards in Asia and banks helped narrow losses in Europe. In focus this morning is the beginning of the highly anticipated Federal Open Market Committee meeting, oil-production news from OPEC, and a profit warning from United Parcel Service (UPS).

Package prince United Parcel Service (UPS: View sentiment for UPSsentiment, chart, options) made headlines after the close yesterday, when it slashed its second-quarter earnings guidance to a range of 83 cents to 88 cents per share, compared to a previous target of 97 cents to $1.04 per share. The company attributed the revised numbers to slow U.S. economic growth, rising fuel costs, lower-than-expected domestic package volume, and declining sales for premium air products. Ahead of the bell, a Robert W. Baird & Co. analyst downgraded the shares of UPS to "neutral" from "outperform," revised his price target to $72 from $86, and cut his 2008 earnings estimate to $3.40 per share from $3.93 per share.

On the economic front, the Federal Open Market Committee's 2-day meeting is slated to begin today. The policymakers are scheduled to announce their interest-rate decision tomorrow afternoon. Many investors are anxious to see what Bernanke's crew will do, with some preparing for an interest-rate hike and some believing the Fed will maintain the key federal funds rate at 2%.

Taking a look at crude-related news, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC) Secretary General Abdalla Salem el-Badri said that other members of the oil cartel are hesitant to lift oil output. The comments came on the heels of Saudi Arabia's revelation that it would boost oil production by 200,000 barrels per day.



Opening View: Futures Lower Ahead of Federal Open Market Committee Meeting



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