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Stocks point higher after Hewlett-Packard report

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[August 20, 2008]  NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks appeared headed for a rebound Wednesday after an upbeat profit report from Hewlett-Packard Co. offered investors reassurance about the economy.

Concerns about inflation and the financial sector have dogged investors in recent sessions, leading the Dow Jones industrial average to post its worst two-day performance since late June on Monday and Tuesday.

But H-P's report after the closing bell Tuesday that its fiscal third-quarter earnings rose 14 percent on robust laptop sales and strong international results reminded investors that some parts of the economy are holding up.

Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 46, or 0.41 percent, to 11,402 after the Dow fell about 310 points over the past two sessions. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures rose 4.60, or 0.36 percent, to 1,273.00. Nasdaq 100 index futures rose 8.25, or 0.43 percent, to 1,927.50.


Bond prices rose. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, fell to 3.83 percent from 3.84 percent late Tuesday.

Oil prices continued their advance. While oil is down about $30 from its July 11 high of $147 a barrel, investors have watched crude log gains the past few days. Government reports last week and on Tuesday showed larger-than-expected increases in inflation faced by consumers and companies, raising further concern about the effect of elevated oil prices.

Light, sweet crude rose 77 cents to $115.30 per barrel in premarket electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Investors are awaiting weekly government inventory figures due after the start of trading.

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The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices rose.

In corporate news, BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. said its second-quarter earnings increased. The retailer also raised its full-year earnings forecast as cautious consumers look for bargains at discounters.

Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average fell 0.10 percent. In afternoon trading, Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.95 percent, Germany's DAX index advanced 0.46 percent, and France's CAC-40 rose 0.68 percent.


On the Net:

New York Stock Exchange: http://www.nyse.com/

Nasdaq Stock Market: http://www.nasdaq.com/

[Associated Press; By TIM PARADIS]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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