MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Indications: U.S. stock futures edge up ahead of data

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By Polya Lesova, MarketWatch

FRANKFURT (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stock futures traded marginally higher on Tuesday, as investors largely retreated to the sidelines ahead of data on house prices and consumer confidence.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/19*!dy10z (DJZ10 10,712, -38.00, -0.35%)  rose 23 points to 10,773.

S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f1:sp\z10 (SPZ10 1,139, +1.00, +0.09%)  added 2.70 points to 1,140.40, while Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\z10 (NDZ10 2,013, +5.75, +0.29%)  gained 5.50 points to 2,012.70.

The blue-chip Dow index /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 10,812, -48.22, -0.44%)  dropped 0.4% on Monday, but remains up 8% so far in September.

Asian equities overnight ended lower, with Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average falling 1.1%. In Europe, equity markets also posted broad-based losses, pressured by worries over sovereign-debt levels in Ireland and Spain. The Stoxx Europe 600 index /quotes/comstock/22c!sxxp (ST:SXXP 261.43, -1.49, -0.57%)  declined 0.4% in late morning trading.

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“It looks like there is a lot of concern about European debt levels, primarily problems in Ireland, which appear to be weighing on the market yet again,” said Peter Dixon, a strategist at Commerzbank in London.

“I think, to a large extent, the concerns are a bit overdone,” he said. “I don’t really have such a negative view on Ireland as the markets do right now. A bit of risk aversion is creeping back into the markets.”

Moody’s Investors Service on Monday downgraded the senior debt rating of Anglo Irish Bank. Meanwhile, rumors circulated in the media that the ratings agency may downgrade Spain’s credit rating this week.

In Madrid, the benchmark IBEX-35 stock index /quotes/comstock/20r!i:ib (XX:IBEX 10,478, -134.90, -1.27%)  slipped 1.5% in intraday trading, while Greece’s ASE Composite index (XX:COMPO 1,496, -17.93, -1.18%)   fell 1.9%.

In the U.S., investors are awaiting the S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index for July, which will be released at 9 a.m. Eastern time.

Data on September consumer confidence will follow at 10 a.m. Eastern, with most economists expecting a decline. The Treasury, meanwhile, is scheduled to sell $35 billion in five-year notes.

On the corporate front, Walgreen Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!wag/quotes/nls/wag (WAG 30.35, -0.01, -0.03%)  is due to report quarterly results before the market opens.

Research In Motion Ltd. /quotes/comstock/15*!rimm/quotes/nls/rimm (RIMM 48.36, -0.51, -1.04%)   /quotes/comstock/11t!rim (CA:RIM 49.67, 0.00, 0.00%)  will also be in the spotlight after it unveiled late Monday a touch-screen tablet device called the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Commodity prices traded lower, with oil futures falling 72 cents to $75.80 a barrel in electronic trading on Globex. Gold futures dropped $8 to $1,290.60 an ounce.

The dollar index /quotes/comstock/11j!i:dxy0 (DXY 79.32, -0.08, -0.10%)  , which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of other major currencies, gained 0.2% to 79.481.

Polya Lesova is reporter for MarketWatch, based in Frankfurt.

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