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US stock futures point slightly higher

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[June 29, 2009]  NEW YORK (AP) -- Investors are looking to start a holiday-shortened week on a positive note.

U.S. stock futures are slightly higher in early trading Monday, amid mixed moves in overseas markets. Stocks in Asia were lower, while European markets advanced.

Investors were pleased by data showing that European business and consumer confidence rose for a third straight month. Still, the European Commission said the economic rebound in Europe is relatively muted and that hard data for the second quarter remains mixed at best.

As the end of the first half of 2009 approaches, investors are unsure whether the economy will snap back this year as many had hoped. That fear has made for a choppy market in recent weeks, putting a more than three-month long rally on hold.


There is little by way of economic or corporate news scheduled for Monday, however this week, which is shortened by the Independence Day holiday on Friday, brings key data that will give investors a better sense of where the economy is headed.

Of particular importance is the government's monthly employment report, due Thursday. Though considered a lagging indicator of the country's economic health, the unemployment rate is still one of the most closely watched gauges of the economy. The labor market is intricately tied to many facets of the economy, including consumer spending.

Investors will also get readings on consumer confidence and manufacturing this week.

Ahead of the market's open, Dow Jones industrial average futures are up 30, or 0.4 percent, to 8,403. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures are up 3.80, or 0.4 percent, to 917.70, and Nasdaq 100 index futures are up 5.50, or 0.4 percent, to 1,482.25.

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Last week, the major indexes finished mixed. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 1.2 percent; the Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 0.3 percent; and the Nasdaq composite index rose 0.6 percent.

Bond prices were slightly higher early Monday. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, slipped to 3.50 percent from 3.53 percent late Friday.

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

Light, sweet crude for August delivery rose 47 cents to $69.63 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average fell 1.0 percent. In late morning trading, Britain's FTSE 100 was up 0.5 percent, Germany's DAX index rose 1.2 percent, and France's CAC-40 was up 1.4 percent.

[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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