Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Stocks poised for a weak start

By CNNMoney.com staff


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Stocks were poised for a slightly weaker start, as investors digested data that showed Japan's economy slowed sharply last quarter. Traders are also awaiting reports on the housing markets and regional manufacturing.

Dow Jones industrial average (INDU), S&P 500 (SPX) and Nasdaq (COMP) futures were lower. Futures measure current index values against perceived future performance.

After slight gains early in the week, stocks closed lower for four straight sessions last week beginning Tuesday after the Federal Reserve gave a bearish outlook and said the economic recovery is weakening. A raft of downbeat economic reports and some tepid earnings results added pressure.

"Investors are still in a bit of a shock from last week's severe drop," said Robert Brusca, chief economist at Fact and Opinion Economics. "Japan's worse-than-expected growth falls into the same pile of disappointing numbers we've been getting, and adds to the growing concern and uncertainty over the global economy."

World markets: While markets in Asia ended mostly higher, Japan's benchmark Nikkei index slipped 0.6% following reports that Japan's economic growth slowed sharply to 0.4% in the second quarter, showing that China is another step closer to becoming the world's third-largest economy.

Japan's gross domestic product totaled $1.29 trillion for the three months ending in June, while China's official figure for the same period was $1.34 trillion.

China is forecast to overtake Japan by the end of the year -- making China the world's No. 2 economy. However, official annual figures won't come until early 2011.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Composite rallied 2.11%, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong ended the day up 0.2%.

European shares were down in late morning trade. The CAC 40 in France dropped 0.6%, while the FTSE 100 in Britain slipped 0.2%. Germany's DAX also edged lower.

Economy: The Empire Manufacturing survey is due before the start of trading. The regional reading on manufacturing is expected to have jumped to 7.50 in August from 5.08 in July, according to a consensus of analysts polled by Briefing.com.

The National Association of Home Builders releases its August index of builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes today. The Housing Market Index is expected to hold steady at July's 14 points, the lowest level since April 2009.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar fell against the euro and the Japanese yen, but edged higher versus the U.K. pound.

Oil futures for September delivery rose 17 cents to $75.56 a barrel.

Gold futures for December delivery rose $7.60 to $1,224.20 an ounce.

Bonds: Prices for Treasurys were higher. The yield on the 10-year note fell to 2.65% from 2.68% late Friday. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.  To top of page

Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.34%3.50%
15 yr fixed2.62%2.65%
5/1 ARM2.88%2.93%
30 yr refi3.39%3.39%
15 yr refi2.64%2.67%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,308.15 164.70 0.91%
Nasdaq 5,312.00 42.85 0.81%
S&P 500 2,168.27 17.14 0.80%
Treasuries 1.61 0.05 3.28%
Data as of 1:30pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Procter & Gamble Co 89.75 1.52 1.72%
Bank of America Corp... 15.65 0.49 3.23%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 6.27 0.15 2.45%
Wells Fargo & Co 44.28 -0.09 -0.20%
Cognizant Technology... 47.71 -7.29 -13.25%
Data as of Sep 30

Sections

On September 8, Americans learned that Wells Fargo had fired 5,300 employees for secretly creating as many as 2 million unauthorized accounts. It's been a hellish month for the bank. Lawmakers have called Wells Fargo a "criminal enterprise" guilty of a range of crimes, including conspiracy to commit fraud and have called on the CEO to resign. More

China is no longer offering Venezuela new loans, according to experts. It spells bad news for Venezuela, which relied heavily on Chinese finance. More

These startups are helping landlords and cities sniff out illegal short-term rentals. More

U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez writes about why the Labor Department introduced a new rule requiring federal contractors to provide paid sick leave to workers. More