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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Indications: Stock futures edge lower on anniversary of rebound

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By Polya Lesova, MarketWatch

FRANKFURT (MarketWatch) -- U.S. equity futures edged lower on Tuesday, as caution dominated sentiment on the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the stock market's rebound from its lows last year.

S&P 500 futures fell 4.8 points to 1,132.30 and Nasdaq 100 futures dropped 6 points to 1,882.50. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 30 points to 10,510.

Stocks finished mixed on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (INDU 10,553, -13.68, -0.13%) dropping 0.1%.

The Nasdaq Composite /quotes/comstock/10y!i:comp (COMP 2,332, +5.86, +0.25%) gained 0.3%, while the S&P 500 index /quotes/comstock/21z!i1:in\x (SPX 1,139, -0.19, -0.02%) edged down 0.02%.

Through March 4, the S&P 500 was up 66% from its March 9, 2009 low.

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"It may be the first anniversary of the global equity-market rebound from the lows of March 2009, but with volumes slowing and Wall Street finishing rather mixed, the temptation may well be to leave the champagne on ice for a little longer yet as this latest rally runs out of steam," said Ben Potter, research analyst at IG Markets, in a note to clients.

No economic data are due for release on Tuesday. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans will speak on the economic outlook at 9:30 a.m. Eastern.

In Washington, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou is scheduled to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama. Pressure on debt-laden Greece has eased after the nation approved additional austerity measures and successfully sold a new 10-year bond last week.

Speaking at the Brookings Institution on Monday, Papandreou reiterated that Greece hasn't requested a bailout, but he wants European support to ensure that his nation can borrow in the global markets.

On the corporate front, Cisco Systems Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!csco/quotes/nls/csco (CSCO 26.13, +0.92, +3.65%) is due to make a major announcement on Tuesday morning that it says "will forever change the Internet." Analysts believe it is a new networking technology for wireless carriers.

Shares of Marsh & McLennan /quotes/comstock/13*!mmc/quotes/nls/mmc (MMC 23.72, -0.07, -0.29%) could be in focus on a Financial Times report that the company has put its Kroll corporate-investigations unit up for sale, with a price tag of around $1.3 billion.

General Growth Properties /quotes/comstock/13*!ggp/quotes/nls/ggp (GGP 14.08, +0.07, +0.50%) said it's received a proposal from Fairholme Capital Management, one of its largest unsecured creditors, and Pershing Square Capital Management, one of GGP's largest equity holders and a significant unsecured creditor to help it emerge from bankruptcy.

Several companies, including Kroger /quotes/comstock/13*!kr/quotes/nls/kr (KR 22.90, +0.16, +0.70%) , J. Crew Group Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!jcg/quotes/nls/jcg (JCG 47.40, +1.79, +3.92%) and Collective Brands Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!pss/quotes/nls/pss (PSS 23.64, -0.51, -2.11%) , will release quarterly results.

Texas Instruments /quotes/comstock/13*!txn/quotes/nls/txn (TXN 24.69, -0.28, -1.12%) on late Monday narrowed its sales and earnings outlook for the first quarter.

TiVo /quotes/comstock/15*!tivo/quotes/nls/tivo (TIVO 17.08, -0.42, -2.40%) , meanwhile, reported a wider fourth-quarter loss due to greater costs.

European equity markets and commodity futures were also weaker on Tuesday.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index /quotes/comstock/22c!sxxp (ST:SXXP 255.18, -1.69, -0.66%) fell 0.1% in intraday trading. Shares of EADS /quotes/comstock/24s!e:ead (FR:EAD 15.18, -0.70, -4.41%) dropped more than 5% in Paris after the aerospace and defense firm swung to a fourth-quarter loss of 1.06 billion euros, compared with net income of 812 million euros in the year-earlier period.

In the commodity markets, April oil futures dropped 88 cents to $80.99 a barrel in electronic trading on Globex. The American Petroleum Institute will release its weekly inventory data at 4:30 p.m. Eastern. Analysts polled by Platts expect an increase of 2.1 million barrels in U.S. crude-oil inventories.

Gold futures also dropped, with the April contract down $6 to $1,118 an ounce.

The U.S. dollar rose against most other major currencies, weighing on dollar-denominated commodities such as gold and oil.

The dollar index /quotes/comstock/11j!i:dxy0 (DXY 80.82, +0.39, +0.48%) , which tracks the greenback against a trade-weighted basket of currencies, gained 0.2% to 80.667.

Polya Lesova is reporter for MarketWatch, based in Frankfurt.


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