MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Indications: U.S. stock futures falter ahead of open

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By Simon Kennedy and Kate Gibson, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock-market futures slipped Wednesday after gold hit another all-time high and pressure continued to mount on the dollar.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\z10 (DJZ10 10,805, +17.00, +0.16%)  fell 17 points to 10,771.

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Dow component Hewlett-Packard Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!hpq/quotes/nls/hpq (HPQ 42.67, +1.05, +2.52%)  gained in premarket trade after the world’s biggest computer manufacturer offered a better-than-expected forecast for fiscal 2011.

After a terrible August, the Dow industrials are up 8.4% this month, on track for their best September since 1939.

S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\z10 (SPZ10 1,143, +1.30, +0.11%)  dropped 2.10 points to 1,139.6, and Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\z10 (NDZ10 2,005, -3.50, -0.17%)  shed 1.5 points to 2,007.

U.S. stocks ended higher Tuesday on deal news and solid earnings announcements. The Dow /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 10,863, +4.69, +0.04%) finished up around 46 points, reversing an 80-point slide earlier in the session.

Shares of Family Dollar Stores Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!fdo/quotes/nls/fdo (FDO 44.51, +1.17, +2.70%)   gained 4% in premarket trade after the retailer reported a rise in fiscal fourth-quarter profit, beating expectations.

Conversely, shares of Sealy Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!zz/quotes/nls/zz (ZZ 2.41, -0.37, -13.31%)  lost nearly 12% in the premarket after the mattress maker late Tuesday reported a fiscal third-quarter loss, missing analysts’ expectations.

In other corporate developments, BP PLC /quotes/comstock/13*!bp/quotes/nls/bp (BP 39.99, +0.70, +1.78%)   has shown the door to the head of its exploration and production business. Read more about executive changes at BP.

With little in the economic diary Wednesday, the dollar dropped 0.3% to 83.63 Japanese yen.

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The move continued the dollar’s slide back toward the ¥82.85 level it hit two weeks ago, just before Japanese authorities intervened in currency markets.

The dollar index /quotes/comstock/11j!i:dxy0 (DXY 78.68, -0.33, -0.42%) , which measures the greenback against a basket of six currencies, also hit its lowest level in eight months.

“It seems that the equity markets remain unfazed by weaker data as long as yields decline in step,” said Kenneth Broux, senior market economist at Lloyds TSB.

“So while yesterday’s consumer-confidence data and the recent weak tone to the regional Fed indices should underline the slowdown risks, the prospect of quantitative easing in response continues to favour dollar weakness,” he added in a note to clients.

Gold futures hit another high as the dollar weakened, with the December contract touching $1,314.80 an ounce on Globex before giving up most of its gains.

Shares of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!gmcr/quotes/nls/gmcr (GMCR 31.58, -5.43, -14.67%) fell 14% in premarket trading. The firm said the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating its revenue-recognition practices.

Meanwhile, Japanese gaming giant Nintendo /quotes/comstock/11i!ntdoy (NTDOY 33.37, -2.68, -7.43%)  cut its profit and sales outlook, citing the strong yen and weaker-than-expected sales of its video-game consoles.

In international markets, the German DAX 30 index /quotes/comstock/30p!dax (DX:DAX 6,247, -29.17, -0.46%)  fell 0.3%, while the Nikkei 225 Average closed up 0.7%.

Simon Kennedy is the City correspondent for MarketWatch in London. Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.

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