Stocks: Economy in focus

September 9, 2011: 8:02 AM ET
premarkets

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks were set to open lower Friday, as investors digest speeches from President Obama and Fed chair Ben Bernanke.

Dow Jones industrial average (INDU), S&P 500 (SPX) and Nasdaq (COMP) futures were all slightly lower ahead of the opening bell. Stock futures indicate the possible direction of the markets when they open at 9:30 a.m. ET.

The economy took center stage Thursday, as President Obama made an attempt to fill the stimulus void, unveiling a plan that he says will boost hiring and provide a jolt to the stalled economy if it becomes law. A mix of $253 billion in tax cuts and $194 billion in new spending, the total bill for the plan is $447 billion.

Investors were also still mulling over also Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's speech.

Bernanke reiterated previous statements that the central bank stands ready to use certain "tools" to help stimulate the economy. But he offered no indication as to which of those tools the Fed is, or is not, prepared to use.

Bernanke to Congress: Don't sacrifice recovery

Stocks ended sharply lower Thursday, as investors signaled disappointment that Bernanke didn't offer up any new solutions to the nation's economic slowdown.

The last month has been a roller coaster for the market -- investors have been quick to react to a series of mixed economic reports, and fears bolstered by the ongoing European debt crisis, creating uncertainty and volatility in the market.

Economy: July wholesale inventory figures will be released at 10 a.m. ET. Economists expect wholesale inventories rose 0.7%, after rising 0.6% in June, according to Briefing.com.

Companies: Retailer Lululemon Athletica (LULU) beat analysts expectations, reporting quarterly earnings of 26 cents per share. But shares of the retailer dropped more than 7% on weak guidance.

Kroger (KR, Fortune 500) will also report quarterly results before the opening bell. The supermarket chain is expected to earn 43 cents per share.

Shares of Texas Instruments (TXN, Fortune 500) were down more than 2% in premarket trading after the company lowered its outlook after the closing bell Thursday.

Shares of Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) edged lower, after a Wall Street Journal report said that the bank may increase layoffs to 40,000 from the 30,000 job cuts previously reported.

5 things to know about Europe's debt crisis

World markets: European stocks were lower in morning trading. Britain's FTSE (FTSE) 100 shed 0.68%, the DAX (DAX) in Germany slipped 1.41% and France's CAC (CAC) 40 fell 1.75%.

Rapidly rising prices in China finally started to slow, giving some relief to consumers in the world's second largest economy. China's Consumer Price Index showed prices rose 6.2% over the 12 months ending in August.

Asian markets ended lower. The Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) edged lower 0.05%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong (HSI) slid 0.23% and Japan's Nikkei (N225) dropped 0.63%.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar gained strength against the euro, the Japanese yen and the British pound.

Oil for October delivery slipped $1.20 to $87.85 a barrel.

Gold futures for December delivery fell $16 to $1,841.50 an ounce.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury remained little changed, with the yield at 1.99%.  To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,279.74 13.75 0.08%
Nasdaq 4,579.79 -13.64 -0.30%
S&P 500 2,010.40 -0.96 -0.05%
Treasuries 2.59 -0.04 -1.60%
Data as of 7:59am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Yahoo! Inc 40.93 -1.16 -2.74%
Microsoft Corp 47.52 0.84 1.80%
Bank of America Corp... 16.95 -0.09 -0.53%
Oracle Corp 39.80 -1.75 -4.21%
Facebook Inc 77.91 0.91 1.18%
Data as of Sep 19
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.23%4.19%
15 yr fixed3.26%3.27%
5/1 ARM3.70%3.38%
30 yr refi4.22%4.18%
15 yr refi3.26%3.26%
Rate data provided
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