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Stock futures indicate some pullback after rally

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[October 29, 2008]  NEW YORK (AP) -- Wall Street prepared to cash in some of its gains Wednesday a day after its enormous surge and as investors awaited an afternoon decision on interest rates from the Federal Reserve.

DonutsStock market futures indicated stocks would show declines at the open, though a pullback wasn't a surprise after the nearly 900-point gain logged by the Dow Jones industrials on Tuesday. The Dow and the Standard & Poor's 500 index posted gains of nearly 11 percent, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 9.5 percent as investors, confident about the prospects for a rate cut, piled into the market to pick up stocks that have become bargains.

Some investors appeared ready to lock in profits. Dow futures fell 152, or 1.67 percent, to 8,937. S&P 500 index futures fell 19.10, or 2.03 percent, to 919.60, while Nasdaq 100 index futures fell 30.75, or 2.35 percent, to 1,277.25.

But stock market futures have lately been a less reliable indicator of how the market would open given the extreme volatility that has battered Wall Street since last month's freeze-up of the credit markets. The troubles with the credit markets have made it harder and more expensive to get a loan.

Moves by hedge funds and mutual funds to exit positions have added to the market's volatility, analysts say, adding that the market likely won't carve out a sustained recovery until some big players halt more of their selling.

While signs have emerged that the government action to revive credit markets is starting to work, investors remain skittish over the effects on the economy, which relies on lending to feed growth.

The market will be awaiting the Fed's decision on interest rates, which is due at 2:15 p.m. EDT. Wall Street expects policymakers will lower the fed funds rate by a half point to 1 percent, though there has been speculation that smaller or wider cuts are possible.

Investors are hoping a rate cut by the Fed would complement the government's still-unfolding efforts to aid the commercial paper market, where companies turn for short-term loans, and the banks themselves. The Treasury this week is investing directly in banks, hoping the cash will make them more likely to issue loans.

Beyond readying for any move by the Fed, investors will be examining a report on orders for big-ticket durable goods, which is expected to show a decrease in demand for a second straight month.

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Wall Street expects the Commerce Department report, due at 8:30 a.m. EDT, will show that orders for durable goods, which are expected to last at least three years, fell 1.5 percent last month.

Meanwhile, investors could find encouragement from an ease in demand for some types of government debt. The yield on the three-month Treasury bill, regarded as the safest investment around and an indicator of investor sentiment, rose to 0.84 percent from 0.74 percent Tuesday. The higher yield indicates a decrease in demand. Meanwhile, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.82 percent from 3.84 percent late Tuesday.

Light, sweet crude rose $3.17 to $65.90 in premarket electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Wall Street's rally Tuesday helped lift trading overseas. Japan's Nikkei stock average jumped 7.74 percent. In morning trading, Britain's FTSE 100 rose 3.60 percent, Germany's DAX index fell 3.22 percent, and France's CAC-40 rose 5.02 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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