MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Indications: U.S. stock futures drop; Oracle, Barclays in focus

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By Polya Lesova, MarketWatch

FRANKFURT (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower opening Tuesday on Wall Street after a long holiday weekend, as shares of Barclays came under pressure after the banking giant announced a new chief executive.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 41 points to 10,395. S&P 500 futures declined 5.50 points to 1,098, and Nasdaq 100 futures slipped 7 points to 1,860.

U.S. markets were closed Monday for Labor Day. On Friday, the Dow /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 10,448, +127.83, +1.24%) rose 1.2%, buoyed by better-than-expected data on the U.S. labor market. Last week, the blue-chip index gained 2.9%, snapping a three-week losing streak.

No major U.S. economic data are scheduled for release Tuesday.

Australia government impasse ends

Australia's wait for a new government ends as two independents announce they will support incumbent Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her Labor party. Video courtesy of Reuters.

"This week, we have very little key economic news," said Marc Pado, U.S. market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald, in a research note. "This will be an opportunity to digest last week's volatility with little distraction."

He described September as a key month.

"Weakness from this point on should be used as an opportunity to add to economically sensitive groups: technology, retail, consumer discretionary and even the financials," Pado said.

Most Asian stock markets ended lower overnight. The Bank of Japan kept interest rates unchanged, as expected.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index /quotes/comstock/22c!sxxp (ST:SXXP 259.21, -1.73, -0.66%) fell 0.7% in afternoon trading. In Germany, data showed that the nation's manufacturing orders dropped 2.2% in July from the previous month, defying expectations for a slight rise.

Investors digested high-level shakeups at several major companies.

U.S.-listed shares of Barclays PLC /quotes/comstock/13*!bcs/quotes/nls/bcs (BCS 20.28, +0.97, +5.02%) /quotes/comstock/23s!a:barc (UK:BARC 312.60, -10.25, -3.17%) dropped 5.4% in premarket trading after the British bank said Robert Diamond, the head of its investment-banking arm, will become its new group chief executive early next year. Diamond will succeed John Varley, who has been at the helm since 2004.

Shares of Barclays fell 3.1% on the London Stock Exchange. Read more on Barclays' moves.

Elsewhere in the financial sector, the BBC reported that Stephen Green, chairman of banking giant HSBC Holdings PLC /quotes/comstock/13*!hbc/quotes/nls/hbc (HBC 50.68, +0.32, +0.64%) /quotes/comstock/23s!a:hsba (UK:HSBA 663.00, +0.20, +0.03%) , will step down to become trade minister in the U.K.'s coalition government.

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The official announcement of Green's new government position could come as soon as Tuesday afternoon, according to the report. See more on HSBC's reported shakeup.

European banking shares came under selling pressure Tuesday after The Wall Street Journal reported that stress tests of major banks earlier this summer understated holdings of potentially risky government debt.

Shares of Oracle Corp. /quotes/comstock/15*!orcl/quotes/nls/orcl (ORCL 22.92, +0.44, +1.96%) gained 5.2% in premarket trading. Oracle announced that Mark Hurd has joined the firm as president and has been named to the board. Hurd is the former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!hpq/quotes/nls/hpq (HPQ 40.34, +0.66, +1.66%) . Read more on Hurd's new appointment.

In other news, President Barack Obama unveiled on Monday a $50 billion plan to upgrade the nation's roads, airports and railways. The public-works plan is part of a larger effort to provide more jobs and help the economic recovery. Read more on Obama's infrastructure plans.

In the commodity markets, crude-oil futures fell $1.65 to $72.93 a barrel in electronic trading on Globex.

The dollar index /quotes/comstock/11j!i:dxy0 (DXY 82.57, +0.51, +0.62%) , which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of other major currencies, gained 0.7% to 82.600.

Polya Lesova is MarketWatch's London bureau chief.

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