Markets & Finance

Stocks Set for Modestly Lower Open


Stocks Monday were set for a modestly lower open amid quiet trade in the last week of the summer. Major stock index futures moved lower ahead of the opening bell.

On Friday, the blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average slid 74.81 points, or 0.79%, at 9,348.87. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 10.22 points, or 1.02%, to 993.05. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index slipped 12.24 points, or 0.69%, at 1,765.31.

Several Dow members were in the news. On back-to-school strength, Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) raised its August sales growth forecast to a range of 4 percent to 6 percent, above an earlier forecast for a 3 percent to 5 percent gain.

After forecasting stronger-than-expected earnings and revenues for itself last week, the head of Intel (INTC) said Monday he does not yet see an industry-wide recovery.

Boeing (BA) said it will complete construction of ten partly built satellites for mobile communication company ICO Global Telecommunications. The work is expected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues.

Alcoa (AA) may come under pressure after analysts at Prudential cut the firm's rating on the giant aluminum producer to "hold" from "buy."

Among other stocks in the news, Lucent Technologies (LU) said that the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission have begun investigations into its operations in Saudi Arabia.

On the economic data front, Monday brings existing home sales for July at 10 a.m. ET. MMS International, an economic research group, expects the figure to hold steady at a 5.85 million-unit annual pace in July. This would leave sales at the high end of the robust range seen this year.

Treasury Market

Treasuries are unchanged to modestly higher after quiet trading overnight, says MMS. There was no news to spark excitement and a bank holiday in the U.K. has helped thin trading. Extension of Friday's rally amid weakness in stocks has boosted Treasuries as well as other global bonds. Reports of several bombings in India may have also contributed to he bid tone.

Investors get an update on durable goods Tuesday. Consumer confidence, also slated for on Tuesday, should show marginal improvement. Thursday brings a preliminary update to second-quarter GDP. MMS expects an upward revision to 2.9%. And Friday, investors will get data on personal income and consumption as well as the Chicago PMI regional survey of business conditions.

World Markets

European bourses were mixed. In London, trading was closed for a bank holiday. On Friday, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index added 2.40 points, or 0.06%, at 4,225.90. In Paris, the CAC 40 lost 27.73 points, or 0.83% at 3,301.26. Germany's DAX index was down 39.92 points, or 1.12% at 3,509.13.

Asian markets finished mixed. Japan's Nikkei 225 index lost 4.53 points, or 0.04%, to finish at 10,276.64. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index added 3.49 points, or 0.03%, to close at 10,764.22.


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