By Polya Lesova, MarketWatch
FRANKFURT (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stock futures dropped on Thursday ahead of results from FedEx Corp. and several reports that will provide more clues about the outlook for American businesses.
Gold futures, meanwhile, extended their ground-breaking run, soaring above Tuesdayâs record closing level. The metalâs appeal as a safe haven has been one reason that investors have rushed to buy it.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/19*!dy10z (DJZ10 10,505, +35.00, +0.33%) Â fell 22 points to 10,554 and S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f1:sp\z10 (SPZ10 1,115, -5.30, -0.47%) Â declined 3.2 points to 1,117.50. /quotes/comstock/21m!f1:sp\z10 (SPZ10 1,115, -5.30, -0.47%)
Trade the FTSE 100 Reshuffle, Says HSBC
Trading the FTSE 100 reshuffle has a high probability of success, according to Vijay Sumon, at HSBC. He recommends buying the stocks leaving the index--Segro, Home Retail Group and Cable & Wireless Worldwide--and selling entrants Resolution and Weir Group at the close of trade Friday, and holding the position for eight trading days.
Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\z10 (NDZ10 1,933, -6.50, -0.34%) Â lost 4.75 points to 1,934.71.
U.S. stocks eked out small gains on Wednesday, with the blue-chip Dow industrials /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 10,573, +46.24, +0.44%) Â ending up 0.4%.
Investors will watch closely first-quarter results from FedEx , /quotes/comstock/13*!fdx/quotes/nls/fdx (FDX 85.94, +0.85, +1.00%) Â which are due before the market opens. The air-freight and courier giant is expected to report a profit of $1.20 a share for the first three months of fiscal 2011, according to the consensus of analysts polled by FactSet Research.
In the technology sector, Oracle Corp. /quotes/comstock/15*!orcl/quotes/nls/orcl (ORCL 25.74, +0.36, +1.42%) Â and Research in Motion Ltd. /quotes/comstock/15*!rimm/quotes/nls/rimm (RIMM 45.52, +0.42, +0.93%) Â are scheduled to report results after the close on Wall Street.
Shares of Ford Motor Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!f/quotes/nls/f (F 11.87, -0.11, -0.92%) Â gained 2% in thin premarket trading after the car maker was upgraded to overweight from equal weight at Barclays Capital.
On the economic front, data on weekly jobless claims and on producer prices for August are due at 8:30 a.m. U.S. Eastern time.
The Philadelphia Fed index for September, measuring factory activity at the regional level, will be released at 10 a.m.
âThe survey started to deteriorate since June and has been on a downward trend since then,â said strategists at Deutsche Bank. âMarkets are hopeful for a bounce today.â
Traders are also eagerly awaiting congressional testimony by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner due after the market opens. Geithner will testify on exchange-rate policy, including that of China.
The comments will be particularly interesting after Japanese authorities intervened in the currency markets on Wednesday to stem the rise of the Japanese yen, which recently surged to a 15-year high against the dollar.
In the commodity markets, gold for December delivery, the most actively traded contract, surged to an intraday high of $1,278.60 an ounce in electronic trading on Globex. The level exceeded the contractâs closing record of $1,271.70 an ounce posted on Tuesday. It was also above Tuesdayâs intraday high of $1,274.50 an ounce.
In India overnight, the central bank lifted interest rates. Asian markets finished lower, with Chinaâs Shanghai Composite index dropping nearly 2%.
In Europe, the Swiss National Bank is expected to maintain its expansionary monetary policy and keep the Libor rate in the lower part of the target range, at around 0.25%. Investors will scrutinize the reaction of the Swiss franc in light of the currencyâs recent strength.
European stocks moved lower, with the Stoxx Europe 600 index /quotes/comstock/22c!sxxp (ST:SXXP 263.57, -1.97, -0.74%) off 0.5% in afternoon trading.
Shares of German conglomerate Siemens AG /quotes/comstock/13*!si/quotes/nls/si (SI 99.71, +0.98, +0.99%) Â /quotes/comstock/11e!fsie (DE:SIE 78.19, +1.59, +2.08%) Â bucked the negative trend. They rose 3.7% on the Xetra trading platform after two brokers issued bullish assessments of the company.
U.K. retail sales posted an unexpected 0.5% monthly decline for August, sending the British pound as low as $1.5537. The currency later recovered some ground to trade down 0.2% at $1.5600.
The euro, meanwhile, advanced 0.6% to trade at $1.3081. The dollar index /quotes/comstock/11j!i:dxy0 (DXY 81.33, -0.17, -0.20%) , which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of other major currencies, fell 0.6% to 81.167.
Polya Lesova is reporter for MarketWatch, based in Frankfurt.Powered By iWebRSS.com