US Stock Futures Lower Amid Spanish Recession Worries

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The FINANCIAL — U.S. stock futures pulled back from the recent string of gains, as mixed domestic data failed to allay investors' concerns over a recession in Spain.

 

Less than an hour before the opening bell, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down 16 points, or 0.1%, to 13148. The Dow rose 24 points, or 0.2%, on Friday to stretch its winning streak to four sessions.

Standard & Poor's 500-stock index futures slipped 3 points, or 0.2%, to 1396 and Nasdaq 100 futures declined 9 points, or 0.3%, to 2728.

Changes in stock futures don't always accurately predict stock moves after the opening bell.

According to Borsa Italiana – London Stock Exchange Group, personal spending slowed in March while income rose more than expected, suggesting consumer buying is providing less of a boost to the economy than it had earlier but could pick up in coming months.

Personal spending rose 0.3% in March, the Commerce Department said, just shy of the 0.4% increase forecast by economists in a Dow Jones Newswires poll. The prior month's reading was revised up to 0.9%, the biggest gain in over two and a half years. Incomes increased 0.4%, more than the 0.2% economists anticipated.

The price index for personal consumption expenditures, excluding volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.2% on a monthly basis in March, in line with economists' expectations.

Manufacturing output in the U.S. Midwest was unchanged last month, with only the machinery sector registering a gain. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago said its Midwest Manufacturing Index remained at 92.2, the same as February's upwardly revised reading.

Investors awaited data on manufacturing activity in the Dallas area at 10:30 a.m. EDT.

European markets edged mostly lower, with the Stoxx Europe 600 down 0.4% and in danger of halting a four-session win streak, after data confirmed that Spain slipped back into recession. The Spanish economy contracted 0.3% in the first quarter from the fourth quarter, following a 0.3% decline in the fourth quarter. A recession is widely defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

Asian markets were broadly higher on the back of a strong finish in the U.S. the previous week. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.7% and Australia's ASX 200 tacked on 0.8%. Markets in Japan and Shanghai were closed for holidays.

Crude-oil futures shed 0.7% to $104.24 a barrel, while gold futures fell 0.9% to $1,650.50 an ounce. The U.S. dollar rose against the euro but lost ground against the yen.

This week will see 126 S&P 500 companies report, according to Deutsche Bank. Earnings so far have been upbeat. Of the 269 S&P 500 companies that reported through the end of last week, 78% topped consensus Wall Street estimates. That compares with an average of 72% over the previous four quarters.

Shares of Barnes & Noble shot up 105% in premarket trading after the book seller said Microsoft was making a $300 million investment in its Nook digital-book business and college texts unit. Microsoft gained 0.2%.

Scholastic climbed 10% after the company raised its full-year earnings outlook to well above current estimates, citing stronger-than-anticipated sales of "The Hunger Games" trilogy following the release of the movie.

Humana lost 3.5% after the health-care company reported first-quarter earnings that fell short of analyst estimates, and provided a full-year outlook was below current projections.

Anheuser-Busch InBev's U.S.-listed shares fell 1.3% after the Belgium-based beer brewer reported a year-over-year increase in first-quarter earnings revenue that just missed analyst expectations.

Energy Transfer Partners agreed to purchase independent refiner Sunoco in a $5.3 billion deal that would create one of the largest energy partnerships in the U.S. Sunoco shares jumped 22%. Energy Transfer Partners' was up 2.3%.

Gen-Probe, a maker of tests for sexually transmitted diseases, jumped 20% after agreeing to be acquired by health products maker Hologic for about $3.7 billion. Hologic shares rose 1.3%.

 

 

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