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Stock futures lower ahead of durable goods report

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[August 27, 2008]  NEW YORK (AP) -- Wall Street headed for a lower open Wednesday as investors awaited a government reading on orders for big-ticket manufactured goods and also watched rising oil prices.

The market expects the Commerce Department's report to show that demand for durable goods, which include cars, appliances and machinery, inched up last month following a big increase in June. Durable goods orders were expected to rise by 0.1 percent in July compared to the previous month, according to economists surveyed by Thomson/IFR. The report is due at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

Investors closely follow durable goods orders for clues about consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of U.S. economic activity. In June, demand for durable goods jumped 0.8 percent -- the most in four months -- though analysts said most of those orders were due to heavy defense spending.

The Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 31, or 0.27 percent, to 11,381.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index futures fell 4.30, or 0.34 percent, to 1,267.40, and the Nasdaq 100 index futures fell 9.25, or 0.49 percent, to 1,882.25.

Wall Street ended mixed Tuesday as Hurricane Gustav sent oil prices higher and offset a better-than-expected reading on consumer confidence.

Investors will be watching to see if oil prices keep rising on fears that Gustav, which weakened into a tropical storm after hitting Haiti, could regain strength and slam into oil and natural gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

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In premarket trading, light, sweet crude was up $1.34 at $117.61 in premarket electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Also Wednesday, the government will report weekly inventories figures for crude, gasoline and distillates, which could further weigh on prices.

Bonds traded flat. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which trades opposite its price, was unchanged from late Tuesday at 3.78 percent. The dollar fell against other major currencies, while gold prices rose.

Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average fell 0.20 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 was down 0.59 percent, Germany's DAX index was down 1.12 percent, and France's CAC-40 was down 1 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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