NEW YORK (MarketWatch) â" U.S. stock futures tallied modest gains Monday as investors weighed concerns over growing unrest in Egypt against optimism over relatively robust corporate earnings thus far.
Stock-index futures held near their session highs after the U.S. government said consumer spending and income rose in December, the former slightly more than analysts had expected. Read more about the latest economic reports.
âMuch of todayâs data is already known to the markets, thus muting its impact,â said Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\h11 (DJH11 11,810, +35.00, +0.30%) Â rose 38 points to 11,813, and S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\h11 (SPH11 1,279, +7.60, +0.60%) Â gained 5.7 points to 1,277.2.
Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\h11 (NDH11 2,273, +4.50, +0.20%) Â advanced 7.5 points to 2,275.5.
On Friday, the blue-chip Dow index /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 11,853, +28.84, +0.24%) Â slumped 166.13 points, or 1.4%, marking its biggest decline since November, after investors were spooked by the unrest in Egypt.
Unrest in Egypt hits global markets
Antigovernment protests in Egypt have affected world financial markets, with U.S. stocks suffering the biggest one-day loss in six months.
Pressure on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in power for decades, escalated during the weekend as protests against his rule continued on the streets of Cairo.
The situation in Egypt is âunsettling for sentiment generally,â said Mike Lenhoff, chief strategist at Brewin Dolphin in London.
âWho knows where itâs going to end and what contagion may result from it?â he said. âItâs clearly forcing up commodity prices, and that is not great news for inflation.â
However, âthe downside [for equity markets] is fairly limited since weâve had good economic news and good earnings results,â Lenhoff said.
Early corporate results Monday had oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!xom (XOM 79.83, +0.84, +1.06%) Â reporting a larger-than-anticipated jump in quarterly profit, while newspaper publisher Gannett Co. Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!gci (GCI 14.70, -0.50, -3.26%) reported a slight rise in fourth-quarter revenue. Read about Exxonâs results.
In commodity markets, oil futures rose 25 cents to $89.59 a barrel in electronic trading on Globex on concerns that crude supplies may be disrupted from the possible closure of the Suez Canal.
âWhile there is currently no evidence of imminent closure and Egyptian officials have publicly assured that traffic is running as normal, the proximity of the protests to the canal itself has raised market concerns about security,â said Ann Wyman, an analyst at Nomura, in a report.
âMoreover, the imposition of curfews, if sustained, could hamper the canalâs operations and lead to delays,â she wrote.
Moodyâs Investors Service downgraded Egyptâs government bond ratings to Ba2 from Ba1, citing the sharp increase in political risk. Read more about Egyptâs downgrade.
The Egyptian stock exchange remained closed for a second day after equities plunged last week.
Equity markets in Asia and Europe posted losses. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Stock Average /quotes/comstock/64e!i:ni225 (JP:NI225 10,238, -122.42, -1.18%) Â dropped 1.2%, and the Stoxx Europe 600 index /quotes/comstock/22c!sxxp (ST:STOXX600 280.49, +0.04, +0.01%) Â declined 0.4% in intraday trading.
Polya Lesova is chief of MarketWatchâs London bureau. Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.Powered By iWebRSS.com