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Stock futures point higher after 5 days of selling

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[March 04, 2009]  NEW YORK (AP) -- Investors appeared ready to move back into the stock market Wednesday, pushing index futures higher after five straight days of heavy selling.

HardwareA rebound would be likely be based more on bargain hunting than conviction as very few, if any, analysts and investors expect the day's economic news to show significant improvement. The Institute for Supply Management's services sector index will be released at 10 a.m. Eastern time. Earlier this week, the organization of corporate purchasing executives said its index tracking the manufacturing sector shrank for the 13th straight month in February.

Later Wednesday, the Federal Reserve will release its beige book, an assessment of the economy by region.

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will testify on Capitol Hill for a second day on the president's budget proposal.

Investors got a bit of good news from the housing industry Wednesday, as homebuilder Toll Brothers Inc. said its loss in the fiscal first quarter narrowed as it slashed expenses. Still, revenue plummeted as the company sold fewer homes.

Retailer Costco Wholesale Corp. said its fiscal second-quarter profit fell 27 percent on weaker sales of non-food items and the heavy discounting needed to move out merchandise during a sluggish holiday season.

Ahead of the market's open, Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 112, or 1.68 percent, to 6,781. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures added 12.60, or 1.83 percent, to 702.10, while Nasdaq 100 index futures gained 16, or 1.49 percent, to 1,088.

Bond prices were mixed early Wednesday. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, rose to 2.98 percent from 2.89 percent late Tuesday. The yield on the three-month T-bill, considered one of the safest investments, slipped to 0.25 percent from 0.26 percent late Tuesday.

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

Light, sweet crude rose $1.57 to $43.22 a barrel in electronic pre-market trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average rose 0.85 percent. In late morning trading, Britain's FTSE 100 was up 1.81 percent, Germany's DAX index jumped 2.72 percent, and France's CAC-40 was up 2.14 percent.


On the Net:

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

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

[Associated Press; By SARA LEPRO]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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