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Wall Street heads for moderately lower open

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[August 25, 2008]  NEW YORK (AP) -- Wall Street headed for a moderately lower open Monday as investors watched to see if oil will extend its recent losses and also awaited a reading on existing home sales.

Stocks staged a big rally Friday after crude tumbled more than $6 a barrel, its biggest percentage drop in more than four years. Investors have welcomed easing energy prices because they hope that will boost consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of the U.S. economy.

HardwareOil market observers, however, are divided over whether crude will keep falling or bounce back. Some analysts believe a softening U.S. economy will curb demand for petroleum products, sending oil prices lower. Others say the world is in a long-term trend of rising energy needs and slowing production of fossil fuels, meaning prices could return to record levels reached in July.

Light, sweet crude was up 89 cents at $115.48 a barrel in premarket electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Investors are also awaiting a report by the National Association of Realtors on existing home sales for July, due at 10 a.m. EDT. Economists surveyed by Thomson/IFR expect sales to have risen last month.


In June, completed sales of existing homes fell to the lowest level in more than a decade. Despite the expected gain in July, many analysts predict home prices will keep falling until at least next spring as tighter credit, a weaker job market and rising foreclosures scare potential buyers away.

The Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 30, or 0.25 percent, to 11,587. The Dow rose nearly 200 points on Friday as oil tumbled and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said inflation pressures are likely to moderate.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index futures fell 4.20, or 0.33 percent, to 1,288, and the Nasdaq 100 index futures fell 5, or 0.26 percent, to 1,924.50.

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Bonds rose. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, fell to 3.85 percent from 3.87 percent late Friday. The dollar rose against other major currencies, while gold prices fell.

Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average rose 1.68 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 was up 2.52 percent, Germany's DAX index was down 0.29 percent, and France's CAC-40 was down 0.82 percent.


On the Net:

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

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

[Associated Press; By STEVENSON JACOBS]

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



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