MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Monday, March 15, 2010

Indications: U.S. stock futures weaken after 'trash' rally

Stock Assault 2.0 - Artificial Intelligence Stock Market Software Alert Email Print

By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch

LONDON (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stock futures weakened Monday as a rating agency said the risks to credit ratings of Triple-A nations including the United States have grown as China's premier warned of the risks of a double-dip recession.

S&P 500 futures fell 3.2 points to 1,143.40 and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 4.75 points to 1,919.50. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 22 points.

The Economy's Vicious Cycle

The dearth of credit for hundreds of thousands of small businesses is keeping the economic recovery from gaining momentum. WSJ's Neil Hickey reports.

The S&P 500 finished 1% higher last week and has climbed nearly 9% from its lowest levels of 2010 -- in a rally led by "trash" stocks, according to a report in Monday's Wall Street Journal.

Trash stocks are typically smaller or highly leveraged companies that stand to benefit the most from an economic recovery.

Risk came off the table Monday as Moody's Investors Service said the risks are growing to the four largest AAA-rated countries -- Germany, France, the U.K. and the U.S. -- and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao warned of a double-dip recession given financial system risks and continued high unemployment in some countries.

Meanwhile, euro-zone finance ministers are meeting in Brussels with Greece again in focus, with continued speculation over the details of the support countries may offer the Hellenic Republic.

Monday's U.S. economic calendar features the Empire State and home-builders index for March as well as industrial production for February.

One of the so-called trash stocks that's been rallying, American International Group /quotes/comstock/13*!aig/quotes/nls/aig (AIG 34.23, -0.88, -2.51%) , will be back in the spotlight after the Journal reported that the insurer plans to hold back $21 million in bonus payments to former employees.

The financial sector also will be awaiting the release of a reform bill from Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn.

Amylin Pharmaceuticals /quotes/comstock/15*!amln/quotes/nls/amln (AMLN 20.26, -0.93, -4.39%) jumped 11% after the Food and Drug Administration said the Food and Drug Administration didn't want more clinical data on a diabetes drug it's making with Eli Lilly /quotes/comstock/13*!lly/quotes/nls/lly (LLY 35.93, +0.11, +0.31%) and Alkermes /quotes/comstock/15*!alks/quotes/nls/alks (ALKS 12.21, -0.43, -3.40%) .

Boston Scientific /quotes/comstock/13*!bsx/quotes/nls/bsx (BSX 7.78, -0.08, -1.02%) dropped 16% on a report it's stopped selling a form of defibrillator.

Renewed speculation Google /quotes/comstock/15*!goog/quotes/nls/goog (GOOG 579.54, -1.60, -0.28%) is exiting China dragged the Internet search engine down 2% and pushed up Baidu.com /quotes/comstock/15*!bidu/quotes/nls/bidu (BIDU 550.24, -3.86, -0.70%) by 5%.

Phillips-Van Heusen /quotes/comstock/13*!pvh/quotes/nls/pvh (PVH 47.74, +0.07, +0.15%) climbed 2.6% after saying it's buying Tommy Hilfiger from Apax Partners for $2.6 billion in cash.

PepsiCo /quotes/comstock/13*!pep/quotes/nls/pep (PEP 65.10, +0.13, +0.20%) rose 1.8% on a $15 billion stock buyback plan, with the beverage maker also raising its dividend by 7%.

Overseas, most Asian markets ended lower on Monday, and stocks in Europe also were lower in late morning trade.

Gold futures were holding over $1,100 an ounce, and the dollar rose against the euro.

Steve Goldstein is MarketWatch's London bureau chief.


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