MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Indications: U.S. stock futures steady, while dollar falls

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By Simon Kennedy, MarketWatch

LONDON (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock-market futures held in a tight range on Wednesday, while gold hit another all-time high as pressure continued to mount on the dollar.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\z10 (DJZ10 10,777, -11.00, -0.10%)  fell 5 points to 10,783.

S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\z10 (SPZ10 1,140, -1.80, -0.16%)  dropped 0.70 point to 1,141 and Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\z10 (NDZ10 2,008, -0.25, -0.01%)  edged up 0.25 point at 2,008.75.

U.S. stocks ended higher on Tuesday, when takeover deals and solid earnings announcements helped offset worries over weak consumer-confidence data. The Dow /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 10,858, +46.10, +0.43%) finished up around 46 points, as it reversed an 80-point slide earlier in the session.

With little in the economic diary Wednesday, the dollar dropped 0.4% to 83.611 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 78.80, -0.21, -0.27%) , 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.

On the corporate front, shares of Hewlett-Packard Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!hpq/quotes/nls/hpq (HPQ 41.62, +0.36, +0.87%)  rose 1.3% in premarket trading after the company said revenue for the fiscal year would be between $131.5 billion and $133.5 billion â€" a range that compared favorably to the consensus forecast of $131.6 billion.

Shares of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!gmcr/quotes/nls/gmcr (GMCR 37.01, -0.54, -1.44%) fell 13% in premarket trading. The firm said the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating its revenue recognition practices.

Oil giant BP PLC /quotes/comstock/13*!bp/quotes/nls/bp (BP 39.29, +0.58, +1.50%)   /quotes/comstock/23s!a:bp. (UK:BP. 417.50, +12.35, +3.05%)  was also back in the headlines as the company said it will restructure its upstream business and create a new safety division, with the power to audit any part of the company’ operations. BP shares rose 2.2% in London.

Family Dollar Stores Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!fdo/quotes/nls/fdo (FDO 43.34, +0.37, +0.86%)  said it earned 56 cents a share in the latest quarter, topping the consensus forecast of 51 cents a share. It also announced plans to buy back up to $750 million of its shares.

Meanwhile, Japanese gaming giant Nintendo /quotes/comstock/11i!ntdoy (NTDOY 36.05, +1.10, +3.15%)  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 6,262, -14.28, -0.23%)  fell 0.3%, while the Nikkei 225 Average closed up 0.7%.

Simon Kennedy is the City correspondent for MarketWatch in London.

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