MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Indications: U.S. futures point higher; gold hits record

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By Kate Gibson and Simon Kennedy, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock market futures pointed to a stronger start for Wall Street Wednesday after results from Monsanto Co. and as gold rallied to a new high.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\m11 (DJM11 12,369, +42.00, +0.34%)  rose 58 points to 12,385 and Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\m11 (SPM11 1,332, +4.90, +0.37%)  were up 7.5 points at 1,334.2.

Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\m11 (NDM11 2,330, +6.75, +0.29%)  rose 16.75 points to 2,340.

U.S. blue-chip stocks ended the day slightly lower on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping around 6 points after the benchmark had hit its highest closing level in nearly three years on Monday.

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Gold futures hit another record high, with the June delivery contract /quotes/comstock/21e!f:gc\m11 (GCM11 1,461, +8.70, +0.60%)  lately up $6.80 at $1,459.30 an ounce, after touching an intraday high of $1462.30 an ounce and helping to lift mining stocks in Europe and overnight in Asia. Silver was at a 31-year high. Read more on the move in gold and silver prices.

On the currency markets, the euro rose to $1.429 ahead of an expected interest-rate hike from the European Central Bank on Thursday.

Oil futures were fairly steady, holding above $108 a barrel. Nymex crude for May delivery /quotes/comstock/21n!f:cl\k11 (CLK11 108.77, +0.43, +0.40%)   was up 12 cents at $108.46 a barrel in electronic trading.

Andrew Dalton, chief investment officer at Dalton Strategic Partnership, said the recent rise in oil prices isn’t enough to have a major impact on improving economic momentum.

“We remain convinced a relatively normal cyclical recovery is underway, that it will not be derailed easily and that the expansion is led by a sharp increase in corporate profitability,” Dalton said in a note to clients.

“As April unfolds, we will get a much clearer fix on first-quarter corporate earnings results. We expect to be positively surprised,” he added.

Among stocks to watch on Wednesday, shares of American Superconductor Corp. /quotes/comstock/15*!amsc/quotes/nls/amsc (AMSC 14.43, -10.45, -42.00%)  slumped 47% in premarket trading after the company, which specializes in renewable-energy technology, cut earnings and revenue forecasts.

The company said the shortfall is due to a refusal by Chinese wind-turbine maker Sinovel Wind Group Co. to accept certain contracted shipments.

Monsanto /quotes/comstock/13*!mon/quotes/nls/mon (MON 69.37, -3.95, -5.39%)  reported second-quarter net income rose to $1.02 billion, or $1.88 a share, with the agricultural company pointing to rising corn-seed sales for helping boost profits. See more on Monsanto reporting a higher quarterly profit and affirming outlook for fiscal 2011.

Elsewhere, Germany’s DAX 30 index rose 0.8% in midmorning trading, while Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average closed down 0.3%.

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

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