MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Indications: Futures point to slight lapse for Wall Street

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By William L. Watts and Kate Gibson, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock futures retained mild losses Thursday after economic data showed a drop in durable-goods orders and weekly first-time jobless claims basically in a holding pattern.

Off 9 points before the reports, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\h11 (DJH11 11,505, +10.00, +0.09%) lately slipped 7 points to 11,488, while S&P 500 index futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\h11 (SPH11 1,253, -1.80, -0.14%)  fell 2.3 points to 1,252.2.

Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\h11 (NDH11 2,229, -7.50, -0.34%)  declined 5.75 points to 2,232.75.

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Markets are in a state of “general drift at the moment,” said Michael Hewson, strategist at CMC Markets. “There are no negative factors weighing on sentiment.”

The only potential risks would stem from any renewed tensions between North Korea and South Korea or from a Chinese rate hike, he said.

On Wednesday, U.S. stocks finished at their highest level in more than two years. The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 11,569, +8.86, +0.08%)  ended 0.2% higher at 11,559.49, its highest close since Aug. 28, 2008.

The S&P 500 /quotes/comstock/21z!i1:in\x (SPX 1,257, -1.84, -0.15%)  rose 0.3% Wednesday to 1,258.84, its highest close since September 2008, while the Nasdaq Composite index /quotes/comstock/10y!i:comp (COMP 2,665, -6.26, -0.23%)  advanced 0.2% to end at 2,671.48.

University of Michigan consumer-sentiment data for December are set for release at 9:55 a.m. Eastern, while November new-home sales figures are due out at 10 a.m. Eastern.

U.S.-listed shares of Allied Irish Banks PLC /quotes/comstock/13*!aib/quotes/nls/aib (AIB 0.92, -0.17, -15.88%)   fell 17% in premarket trade after Ireland’s government said it would pour 3.7 billion euros into what once was the nation’s biggest publicly traded lender. Read more about the government injection into AIB.

Jo-Ann Stores Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!jas/quotes/nls/jas (JAS 60.25, +14.62, +32.04%)   shares surged 33% before the bell after the fabric and craft-store operator said it was being acquired by an affiliate of private-equity firm Leonard Green & Partners LP for about $1.6 billion.

William L. Watts is a reporter for MarketWatch in London. Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.

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Indications: Futures point to steady start for Wall Street

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By William L. Watts, MarketWatch

LONDON (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock futures pointed to a steady start for Wall Street on Thursday as investors awaited a slew of economic data ahead of the final trading session before Christmas.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\h11 (DJH11 11,489, -6.00, -0.05%)  added 3 points to 11,498, and S&P 500 index futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\h11 (SPH11 1,253, -2.00, -0.16%)  fell 0.5 point to 1,254.

Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\h11 (NDH11 2,230, -5.75, -0.26%)  edged 3.25 points lower to 2,232.75.

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Markets are in a state of “general drift at the moment,” said Michael Hewson, strategist at CMC Markets. “There are no negative factors weighing on sentiment.”

The only potential risks would stem from any renewed tensions between North Korea and South Korea or from a Chinese rate hike, he said.

On Wednesday, U.S. stocks finished at their highest level in two years. The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 11,559, +26.33, +0.23%)  ended 0.2% higher at 11,559.49, its highest close since Aug. 28, 2008.

The S&P 500 index /quotes/comstock/21z!i1:in\x (SPX 1,259, +4.24, +0.34%)  rose 0.3% Wednesday to 1,258.84, its highest close since September 2008, while the Nasdaq Composite index /quotes/comstock/10y!i:comp (COMP 2,671, +3.87, +0.15%)  advanced 0.2% to end at 2,671.48.

Economic figures on tap for Thursday include durable-goods orders for November, as well as November consumer-spending figures and weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.

University of Michigan consumer-sentiment data for December are set for release at 9:55 a.m. Eastern, while November new-home sales figures are due out at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Although durable-goods data are notoriously volatile, they offer clues to business investment in machinery. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expect orders to post a 0.5% decline after a sharp 3.4% drop in October. Excluding transportation equipment, orders are expected to show a partial rebound after a 4.3% October decline.

Hewson said consumer-sentiment data are likely to be the main focus for equity investors. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch forecast the index to rise to 74.5 from a previous reading of 74.2.

In corporate news, retailer Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!bbby/quotes/nls/bbby (BBBY 47.67, +0.12, +0.25%)  late Wednesday reported a fiscal third-quarter profit of $188.6 million, or 74 cents a share, up from $151.3 million, or 58 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Sales rose 11.1% to $2.19 billion, and the company said its board authorized a new $2 billion share-repurchase program.

European stocks gained ground in thin trade, with the Stoxx Europe 600 /quotes/comstock/22c!sxxp (ST:STOXX600 281.46, +0.01, +0.00%)  index rising 0.1%. Read about Europe Markets.

The dollar was slightly lower versus most major rivals. It changed hands at 83.01 yen /quotes/comstock/21o!x:susdjpy (USDYEN 83.0400, -0.5100, -0.6104%)  versus the Japanese currency, a loss of 0.7%. The euro /quotes/comstock/21o!x:seurusd (EURUSD 1.3067, -0.0030, -0.2291%)  slipped 0.1% against the dollar to trade at $1.3092.

Nymex oil futures rose 5 cents to $90.53 a barrel in electronic trade, while gold futures fell $4.60 to trade at $1,382.80 an ounce.

William L. Watts is a reporter for MarketWatch in London.

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NYSE Arca Morning Update - 08:30:00 ET

NYSE Arca Morning Update for Thursday, Dec 23, 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
JAS $45.65 $60.90 33.4% 149,261
SCMR $27.27 $20.34 (25.4%) 17,480
SNIC $11.21 $14.02 25.0% 96,699


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
GLD $22,833,754 $134.44 ( 0.4%) | C 1,114,983 $4.71 ( 0.7%)
SPY $13,667,180 $125.56 ( 0.2%) | AIB 1,083,813 $0.86 (21.0%)
VRGY $12,524,892 $13.79 9.4% | VRGY 899,093 $13.79 9.4%
BHP $10,807,423 $91.70 ( 0.1%) | BAC 591,558 $13.27 ( 0.8%)
BP $9,471,814 $43.97 0.8% | BP 215,555 $43.97 0.8%
JAS $9,010,325 $60.90 33.4% | UUP 176,600 $23.30 0.2%
IWM $8,496,201 $78.94 0.2% | GLD 169,506 $134.44 ( 0.4%)
BAC $7,863,335 $13.27 ( 0.8%) | JAS 149,261 $60.90 33.4%
QQQQ $5,523,672 $54.74 ( 0.3%) | ALU 126,984 $2.87 0.0%
C $5,261,113 $4.71 ( 0.7%) | ERIC 120,900 $11.28 ( 1.1%)


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.
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Copyright [2010] by NYSE Euronext. All rights reserved. Reproduction and redistribution prohibited without prior express consent.

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