Stock futures fall, point to lower opening

July 7, 2010 6:41:35 AM PDT
A day after the Dow Jones industrial average broke a seven-day losing streak, stocks are set to resume that slide.

Futures dipped Wednesday, but were well off their lows of the morning, as investors remain concerned about the pace of a global recovery.

Stock futures pointed toward the Dow erasing some Tuesday's 57-point gain, which came on a volatile day of trading. Interest rates were little changed in the Treasury market as bond traders remain extremely cautious about potential growth.

There are no major economic reports due out Wednesday that could help shake the market from its recent doldrums by providing a sign that strong growth is imminent. The Labor Department will release its weekly report on initial jobless claims and retailers will disclose monthly June sales results on Thursday.

Those reports could provide a spark for stocks because high unemployment and slowing consumer spending remain the biggest stumbling blocks to a stronger rebound.

Major indexes have fallen in recent months following a steady stream of economic reports that have fallen short of forecasts. The data does show the economy is growing, though not as fast as investors had hoped earlier this year. Private spending has not been able to make up for the inflated growth that came from government stimulus programs like the home buyer tax credit that expired at the end of April.

The slowdown in the recovery has pushed the Dow down 13 percent since it hit its high for the year in late April.

Overseas markets all fell Wednesday. European investors are cautious ahead of a Thursday meeting of the European Central Bank. Traders are expecting the bank to keep interest rates unchanged, but will want to get details on the European Union's stress tests on banks.

Ahead of the opening bell, Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 10, or 0.1 percent, to 9,672. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures fell 1.00, or 0.1 percent, to 1,023.20, while Nasdaq 100 index futures fell 3.00, or 0.2 percent, to 1,731.50.

Bond prices were mixed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, was unchanged at 2.94 percent compared with late Tuesday. Its yield is often used as a benchmark for interest rates on consumer loans and mortgages.

The dollar rose against other major currencies, including the euro. Stocks have often fallen on days the euro weakened in recent months. Aside from domestic worries, investors have been concerned that rising sovereign debt problems in Europe would upend a recovery there, further slowing a global rebound.

Results from the European bank stress tests could provide insight into how much European banks would be affected by a further slowdown and the rising debt of countries like Greece, Portugal and Spain.

Overseas, Britain's FTSE 100 dropped 0.8 percent, Germany's DAX index fell 0.7 percent, and France's CAC-40 dropped 0.7 percent. Japan's Nikkei stock average fell 0.6 percent.