MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Indications: U.S. futures edge up after economic data

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By Polya Lesova and Kate Gibson, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock futures turned higher Wednesday after U.S. economic data helped offset declines that came as China intensified moves to tame inflation.

“We’ve got a little bit of concern about China curbing inflation again, and we’ve gone from a quantitative easing party to having a quantitative easing hangover here, especially when you consider the magnitude of the celebration,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Jefferies & Co.

Stock index futures turned slightly higher after economic data had jobless claims falling by 24,000 to 435,000 last week, with U.S. import prices rising 0.9% in October.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\z10 (DJZ10 11,318, +5.00, +0.04%)  gained 7 points to 11,320 and S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\z10 (SPZ10 1,213, +2.40, +0.20%)  added 2.30 points to 1,213.20.

Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\z10 (NDZ10 2,174, -2.75, -0.13%)  added 5.50 points to 2,181.70.

What investors can expect from the G-20

Currency traders will listen closely for signs that the Group of 20 nations will counter soaring currencies with protectionist measures, which could hurt global growth, says portfolio manager Axel Merk. MarketWatch's Laura Mandaro reports.

U.S. equities were bolstered some by an upbeat earnings report from department-store operator Macy’s Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!m/quotes/nls/m (M 25.22, -0.35, -1.37%) , continuing an “ongoing trend of retailers doing better than our expectations,” said Hogan.

The blue-chip Dow index /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 11,347, -60.09, -0.53%)  fell 0.5% on Tuesday, posting its biggest point and percent drop in three weeks.

In Asia, China’s trade surplus rose to $27.15 billion in October from $16.9 billion in September, official data showed Wednesday. Exports rose sharply, but the pace of growth moderated from the preceding month, while the pace of growth in imports accelerated. The data come as leaders of the Group of 20 nations prepare to meet in South Korea.

“The disparity in global trade balances is the key point that will likely attract attention as senior officials fly in to Seoul for the G-20 meeting,” said Brian Jackson from RBC Capital Markets in a note to clients.

“At $27 billion in October, China’s trade surplus is again at historically high levels, while data to be released later today will likely show that the U.S. trade deficit was around $45 billion,” Jackson said. “This stark contrast will likely add to the international pressure for China to move faster on the currency to provide more support to the global economy.”

U.S.-listed shares of Dutch financial-services group ING Groep NV /quotes/comstock/13*!ing/quotes/nls/ing (ING 10.94, -0.13, -1.17%)   /quotes/comstock/24s!e:inga (NL:INGA 8.23, +0.27, +3.36%)  gained more than 3% in premarket trading after the firm said it’s going to prepare for a base case of two initial public offerings for its insurance businesses.

European stock markets traded lower, with the Stoxx Europe 600 index /quotes/comstock/22c!sxxp (ST:STOXX600 273.15, -0.31, -0.11%)  falling 0.1% in intraday trading.

In Germany, Allianz SE /quotes/comstock/11e!falv (DE:ALV 90.98, -1.54, -1.66%)  reported an 8% drop in third-quarter net profit, but it confirmed its full-year operating profit outlook.

In the currency markets, the British pound gained 0.5% to $1.6071, as the Bank of England said that U.K. consumer-price inflation is likely to remain above the 2% target rate in 2011.

The dollar index /quotes/comstock/11j!i:dxy0 (DXY 77.63, +0.19, +0.25%) , which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of other major currencies, edged up 0.3% to 77.751.

December gold futures dropped $10.60 to $1,399.5 an ounce in electronic trading on Globex.

Polya Lesova is chief of MarketWatch’s London bureau. Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.

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