Sponsored by: Investment Center

Something new in your business?  Click here to submit your business press release

Chamber Corner | Main Street News | Job Hunt | Classifieds | Calendar | Illinois Lottery 


Stock futures in narrow range ahead of opening

Send a link to a friend

[March 18, 2010]  NEW YORK (AP) -- Stock futures are trading in a narrow range, a day after the Dow Jones industrial average rose to its highest level of the year.

Investors are heading into Thursday trading tentatively after Greece said it might need international assistance to resolve its debt crisis. Concerns about Greece's debt problems have weighed on the market off and on for nearly two months as the country tries to sort out billions of dollars in budgetary gaps. Overseas markets fell on the Greece worries.

In the U.S., traders will look to reports on inflation and initial jobless claims for signs the domestic economy is continuing to recover.

Stocks have been grinding higher over the past five weeks, with the Dow up about 825 points during that time. The Dow has risen for seven straight sessions. The Standard & Poor's 500 and Nasdaq composite indexes are both at their highest levels since 2008.

Gains over the past couple of days came after the Federal Reserve said it would keep a key lending rate at historic lows and noted the economy is showing more signs of improvement.

Ahead of the opening bell, Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 1, or less than 0.1 percent, to 10,662. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures fell 1.60, or 0.1 percent, to 1,159.40, while Nasdaq 100 index futures fell 3.00, or 0.2 percent, to 1,931.00.


The Labor Department is expected to say consumer prices inched higher by 0.1 percent last month, according to economists polled by Thomson Reuters. The slow recovery and continued high unemployment have kept prices in check.

Excluding volatile energy and food costs, the core Consumer Price Index also likely rose 0.1 percent in February.

If the report comes in as expected it would be the second straight day the Labor Department reported benign inflation figures. On Wednesday, a report on inflation at the wholesale level showed rising prices are almost nonexistent.

The Fed has repeatedly said inflation is expected to remain low for quite some time. That will allow the central bank to keep interest rates low to help try and drive economy growth.

[to top of second column]

However, high unemployment is likely to be the biggest stumbling block for strong, sustained growth. The Fed isn't expected to start hiking rates until job creation is consistent.

The Labor Department's weekly report on initial jobless claims is also due out Thursday. Economists predict workers filing for unemployment benefits for the first time fell by 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 455,000 last week.

It would mark the third straight weekly decline, which would provide evidence that layoffs are slowing and employers are going to start hiring new workers soon.

Both reports are due out at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

Meanwhile, bond prices were little changed. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, was unchanged at 3.64 percent, compared with late Wednesday.

The dollar rose against other major currencies. Gold and oil fell.

Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average fell 1 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.2 percent, Germany's DAX index dropped 0.2 percent, and France's CAC-40 fell 0.3 percent.

[Associated Press; By STEPHEN BERNARD]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


< Recent articles

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor