MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Indications: U.S. futures retain gains as jobless claims fall

Stock Assault 2.0 - Artificial Intelligence Stock Market Software

By Polya Lesova and Kate Gibson, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock futures retained slight gains Thursday after a round of economic data illustrated an unexpected drop in weekly jobless claims and the first rise in housing starts in three months.

“The level of claims continues the improvement seen over the past six weeks, but the question still remains of when the monthly job gains will be enough to lower the unemployment rate on a sustainable pace,” noted Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak.

Tempering investor enthusiasm, package-shipping company FedEx Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!fdx/quotes/nls/fdx (FDX 94.23, +1.84, +1.99%)  reported second-quarter profit that missed expectations. Read about FedEx’s results.

FedEx and competitor United Parcel Service Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!ups/quotes/nls/ups (UPS 73.46, +1.21, +1.67%)   are both viewed as economic bellwethers, given their shipments cover a broad range of industries.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\h11 (DJH11 11,425, +10.00, +0.09%)  gained 5 points to 11,420, and S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\h11 (SPH11 1,236, +3.60, +0.29%)  added nearly 1 point to 1,232.8.

Why are bond yields rising?

Ben Bernanke's interview on '60 Minutes' causes a flurry of activity in the bond market by so-called bond vigilantes.

Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\h11 (NDH11 2,219, +17.25, +0.78%) rose 3.75 points to 2,205.

Stock-index futures lightly pared already weak gains after the government reported its count of those filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week fell by 3,000 to 420,000. Read more about initial jobless claims.

Separate data had housing starts rising more than expected in November, but permits for future construction declined. Read about the latest housing data.

On Wednesday, U.S. stocks were hit by a late-session decline for a third consecutive day, with analysts saying the indexes are hitting technical hurdles when trying to climb.

On the earnings front, General Mills Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!gis/quotes/nls/gis (GIS 36.66, +0.28, +0.77%)  reported a 9% rise in fiscal second-quarter profit.

Home-furnishings retailer Pier 1 Imports Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!pir/quotes/nls/pir (PIR 10.06, -0.32, -3.08%)  said its third-quarter profit dropped 46% from the year-ago period, when it recorded an income-tax benefit.

Wall Street is also tracking events overseas, with European Union leaders meeting Thursday in an attempt to reach consensus on further steps to try to contain a debt crisis now seen as threatening Portugal and Spain.

And the deal struck between President Obama and Republicans that would extend tax cuts for nearly all Americans could move to the House of Representatives as soon as Thursday.

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

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Indications: U.S. futures edge up before data, EU summit

Stock Assault 2.0 - Artificial Intelligence Stock Market Software

By Polya Lesova, MarketWatch

LONDON (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock futures edged higher Thursday, as traders retreated to the sidelines ahead of jobs and housing data and awaited the start of a summit of European leaders.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\h11 (DJH11 11,423, +8.00, +0.07%)  gained 17 points to 11,432, and S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\h11 (SPH11 1,233, +0.90, +0.07%)  added 2.50 points to 1,234.60.

Why are bond yields rising?

Ben Bernanke's interview on '60 Minutes' causes a flurry of activity in the bond market by so-called bond vigilantes.

Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\h11 (NDH11 2,206, +4.50, +0.20%) rose 5.25 points to 2,206.50. 

The economic calendar is busy Thursday, with reports on initial jobless claims and November housing starts due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.

After the market opens, at 10 a.m. Eastern, the Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey for December will be released.

The blue-chip Dow index /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 11,457, -19.07, -0.17%)  dropped 0.2% Wednesday, its first decline in four days.

On the earnings front, General Mills Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!gis/quotes/nls/gis (GIS 36.38, -0.06, -0.16%)  reported a 9% rise in fiscal second-quarter profit.

Home-furnishings retailer Pier 1 Imports Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!pir/quotes/nls/pir (PIR 10.38, -0.03, -0.29%)  said its third-quarter profit dropped 46% from the year-ago period, when it recorded an income-tax benefit.

FedEx Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!fdx/quotes/nls/fdx (FDX 92.39, -0.94, -1.01%)  reported a drop in quarterly profit, hurt by costs, but the package-delivery company lifted its full-year adjusted earnings forecast, citing improving margins.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the Stoxx Europe 600 index /quotes/comstock/22c!sxxp (ST:STOXX600 277.01, +0.48, +0.17%)  gained 0.1% in intraday trading, and the euro edged up 0.2% to $1.3243. See Europe Markets.

EU summit in focus

European Union leaders were gathering for a two-day summit in Brussels, where they will discuss ways to prevent and respond to future euro-zone debt crises.

“The EU summit [that] starts today could be the last significant market event of the year,” said Jane Foley, senior currency strategist at Rabobank International.

Enormous debt loads have forced Greece and Ireland to seek aid this year, and concerns remain that other euro-zone countries, such as Portugal and Spain, may eventually have to ask for assistance as well.

The Spanish government successfully sold 2.4 billion euros ($3.18 billion) worth of bonds Thursday, but yields rose sharply from a previous sale.

Moody’s Investors Service warned this week that it may downgrade Spain’s credit rating due to the nation’s high refinancing needs in 2011. Read more about Spain’s troubles.

Asian stocks finished mostly lower Thursday, with Hong Kong’s benchmark index dropping 1.3%.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services raised China’s long-term sovereign credit rating, citing the nation’s improved fiscal position and growth prospects. See story on S&P and China.

In commodity markets, oil futures slipped 33 cents to $88.29 a barrel in electronic trading on Globex.

Gold futures were little changed at $1,385.50 an ounce.

Polya Lesova is chief of MarketWatch’s London bureau.

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NYSE Arca Morning Update - 08:30:00 ET

NYSE Arca Morning Update for Thursday, Dec 16, 2010 :

STOCKS TRADING ON NYSE Arca AT A PRICE 15% OR MORE AWAY FROM
THE PREVIOUS TRADE DAY'S CONSOLIDATED CLOSE PRICE (AS OF 08:30:00 ET)

Stock Wednesday's Close Current Price Pct Change Current NYSE ARCA Vol
No symbols with at least a 15% price change today

10 MOST ACTIVE STOCKS ON NYSE ARCA AS OF 08:30:00 ET

BASED ON DOLLARS TRADED: | BASED ON SHARES TRADED:
Stock $ Volume Price PctChg | Stock Share Vol Price PctChg
SPY $67,269,816 $124.34 0.2% | C 5,540,684 $4.64 1.1%
BAC $28,774,640 $12.55 1.9% | BAC 2,297,794 $12.55 1.9%
FDX $25,811,836 $90.62 ( 1.9%) | SPY 541,325 $124.34 0.2%
C $25,642,705 $4.64 1.1% | CLD 329,926 $19.83 ( 0.9%)
AAPL $13,617,750 $321.50 0.3% | FDX 287,356 $90.62 ( 1.9%)
EWZ $10,988,474 $76.13 1.1% | UNG 225,010 $5.75 ( 1.1%)
GLD $8,621,314 $134.32 ( 0.3%) | EWZ 144,520 $76.13 1.1%
CLD $6,560,024 $19.83 ( 0.9%) | AIB 133,201 $1.29 ( 3.0%)
EEM $6,102,251 $46.36 0.3% | XLF 132,325 $15.53 0.3%
LVS $4,788,420 $43.07 1.9% | EEM 131,633 $46.36 0.3%


Price changes may be affected by symbol splits and dividends.

Consolidated close price is the last print (excluding prints with trade
conditions) prior to 4PM ET.

This information is also updated on our web page every morning at 8:35ET:
http://www.tradearca.com/data/volume/daily_update.asp

This material is for informational purposes only.
NYSE Euronext and its affiliates ("NYSE Arca") are not soliciting any action based upon it.
This material is not to be construed as an offer to buy or sell any security in any jurisdiction where such an offer or solicitation would be illegal.
Any opinions expressed in this material are NYSE Arca opinions only.
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Copyright [2010] by NYSE Euronext. All rights reserved. Reproduction and redistribution prohibited without prior express consent.

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