MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Indications: U.S. stock futures up before Bernanke testimony

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By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch

LONDON (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stock futures leaned higher Wednesday after the prior day's rally, as markets awaited news on a Greece rescue plan and testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

S&P 500 futures rose 4.4 points to 1,070.60 and Nasdaq 100 futures added 9 points to 1,761.00. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 37 points.

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U.S. stocks climbed Tuesday as indications that Germany would lead a rescue of debt-stricken Greece assuaged investors across the globe. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 150 points, or 1.5%, and other leading indexes rose by over 1% as well.

A meeting between the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, and law makers, ended on Wednesday without any concrete package of Greek aid announced. However, expectations are that a package may be announced on Thursday during a meeting of European leaders.

European equities climbed on Wednesday -- markets there shut before the German news broke on Tuesday -- while the euro /quotes/comstock/21o!x:seurusd (CUR_EURUSD 1.38, 0.00, -0.02%) was steady after its rally the prior day. See related story.

Also in the spotlight Wednesday will be written testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke -- he won't be delivering it in person due to the snow that's hit Washington, D.C. -- which will delve into when the central bank will exit its ultra-low interest-rate policy.

"Bernanke is likely to go into a lot of gory details of all the ways they can exit, but he's going to keep reiterating they'll do what the economy needs [the bank] to do," said Bill Cheney, chief economist at John Hancock.

The Bank of England, a central bank which has adopted many of the same strategies as the Fed, forecast inflation in the U.K. will come back below its 2% target.

Of companies in the spotlight, Walt Disney Co.'s /quotes/comstock/13*!dis/quotes/nls/dis (DIS 29.84, +0.36, +1.22%) fiscal first-quarter earnings were about flat with those of the year-earlier period, the company said after markets closed on Tuesday, as gains by its television networks and film and TV studios were offset by declines at its theme-park and consumer units. See Disney story.

Can Disney Keep Up the Magic?

Media critic Jon Friedman says investors should be asking themselves whether Walt Disney Co. is in a position to maintain its solid position.

Other earnings are due from companies including Wyndham Worldwide /quotes/comstock/13*!wyn/quotes/nls/wyn (WYN 21.22, +0.55, +2.66%) , Sprint Nextel /quotes/comstock/13*!s/quotes/nls/s (S 3.65, +0.14, +3.99%) and IntercontinentalExchange /quotes/comstock/13*!ice/quotes/nls/ice (ICE 98.87, +1.83, +1.89%) .

Baidu.com /quotes/comstock/15*!bidu/quotes/nls/bidu (BIDU 435.01, -8.22, -1.85%) may climb after the Chinese search engine reported stronger-than-forecast earnings on a 40% jump in revenue.

ArcelorMittal /quotes/comstock/13*!mt/quotes/nls/mt (MT 39.46, +1.86, +4.95%) dropped in Amsterdam as the world's largest steel maker offered up first-quarter guidance below market expectations. See ArcelorMittal story.

Commodity futures markets were little changed. Weekly energy inventories data are due at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time.

Steve Goldstein is MarketWatch's London bureau chief.


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