U.S. Stock Futures Inch Higher Following Trade Deficit Data
07/11/2012| 09:07am US/Eastern
By Jonathan Cheng and Tomi Kilgore
U.S. stock futures inched higher after the U.S. trade deficit came in line with expectations, with investors looking ahead to the minutes of the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting for clues about the central bank's willingness to further ease policy.
Less than an hour before the opening bell, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures tacked on 29 points, or 0.2%, to 12614. Standard & Poor's 500-stock index futures added three points, or 0.2%, to 1338 and Nasdaq 100 futures edged up one point, or 0.1%, to 2579.
Prior to the trade deficit data, Dow futures had gained 20 points, S&P futures rose one point and Nasdaq futures slipped one point. Changes in stock futures don't always accurately predict stock moves after the opening bell.
The Dow is looking for a turn in fortunes after falling Tuesday for its fourth straight session--the longest losing streak in more than a month.
In economic news, the U.S. trade deficit narrowed for a second straight month in May to $48.7 billion, in line with expectations and lower than April's upwardly revised reading of $50.6 billion. The deficit narrowed as exports picked up and falling oil prices helped drive down imports.
Separately, at 10 a.m., a report on wholesale inventories for May is expected to show a rise of 0.4% after an increase of 0.6% in April.
The minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee that ended June 20 will be released at 2 p.m. EDT. At that meeting, the Fed decided to extend its program of lengthening the maturing of its Treasury securities holdings, and said it is prepared to take further action to promote a stronger recovery if appropriate.
European markets traded mostly higher, with Spain leading the way, after Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced more austerity measures in an effort to meet budget targets. The news, though expected, pushed Spain's IBEX-35 up 1%. The broader Stoxx Europe 600 slipped 0.1%.
Also, yields on 10-year Spanish bonds slipped below 6.7%, just two days after topping the psychologically significant 7% level.
Asian markets were mixed. The Shanghai Composite rose 0.5% off a six-month low, while Japan's Nikkei Stock Average slipped 0.1% to suffer its fifth consecutive loss.
Crude-oil futures climbed 1.2% to just short of $85 a barrel, while gold futures eased 0.4% to about $1,570 an ounce. The U.S. dollar slipped against the euro and the yen.
In corporate news, shares of Adtran fell 6.2% in premarket trading after the networking and communications equipment company missed analysts' earnings and revenue expectations.
Hhgregg tumbled 29% after the appliance and electronics retailer provided a fiscal first-quarter loss outlook that was wider than current analyst projections, citing lower-than-expected revenue primarily in the video category.
Prospect Capital slumped 6.8% after the company announced a public offering of 21 million shares of common stock.
Orexigen Therapeutics rallied 7% after the company said it could complete the enrollment of patients required for a study of its obesity treatment in half the time that was originally projected.
Write to Tomi Kilgore at email@example.com