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US stocks set to open higher after Wednesday drop

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[October 16, 2008]  NEW YORK (AP) -- Wall Street was headed for a mild rebound Thursday after its steep dive in the previous session, but investors remained anxious ahead of data expected to suggest that the economy is in a recession.

The market is also awaiting third-quarter results from Citigroup Inc. Analysts predict that the bank will report its fourth straight quarterly loss. Merrill Lynch & Co., which recently agreed to be acquired by Citigroup Inc. rival Bank of America Corp., early Thursday posted a net loss of $5.1 billion.

Auto RepairAfter Wednesday's dismal consumer spending report, which contributed to a 733-point plunge in the Dow Jones industrial average, investors are bracing for more troubling news. The Federal Reserve is expected to report that industrial production dropped in September, while the Labor Department is anticipated to report another uptick in consumer prices and only a slight decline in applications for unemployment benefits.

Ahead of the market's open, Dow futures rose 86, or 1.01 percent, to 8,600. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures rose 7.30, or 0.81 percent, to 910.60, and Nasdaq 100 index futures rose 7.50, or 0.61 percent, to 1,236.50.

Trading is apt to be volatile after the Dow's 936-point rally Monday and its massive loss Wednesday. The violent swings have arrived after the index's worst week ever, during which Wall Street shed about $2.4 trillion in shareholder wealth.

While the credit markets are performing better than they were last week given several unprecendented actions by governments around the world -- including the decision to buy stakes in private banks -- they are hardly healthy.

Treasury bills, considered the safest assets around, remained in high demand. The three-month Treasury bill on Thursday was yielding 0.23 percent, only modestly higher than 0.20 percent on Wednesday.

In Asian trading, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index lost 4.8 percent, and Japan's Nikkei index dropped 11.41 percent, following the pattern of trading in the U.S. In morning trading in Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 fell 3.05 percent, Germany's DAX index fell 2.08 percent, and France's CAC-40 fell 3.47 percent.

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The dollar was mixed against other major currencies.

Light, sweet crude for November delivery fell $2.90 to $71.64 a barrel in premarket electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Wednesday, crude dropped $4.09 to settle at $74.54, the lowest closing level since Aug. 31, 2007.


On the Net:

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

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

[Associated Press; By MADLEN READ]

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



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