Stocks head for weak open after Draghi disappoints

@CNNMoneyInvest August 2, 2012: 9:21 AM ET
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stock futures turned sharply lower shortly before the market open Thursday after European Central Bank president Mario Draghi failed to announce concrete plans to help solve Europe's debt crisis.

Investors were left disappointed by the ECB, one day after the Federal Reserve also stopped short of offering a fresh round of stimulus.

U.S. stock futures sank between 0.6% and 0.9% ahead of the opening bell. Earlier, stock futures were up as much as 0.6%.

After the Federal Reserve refrained from taking new action to jumpstart the economy, investors hopes were high that Draghi would announce some form of new action after he pledged last week that the ECB would do "whatever it takes" to preserve the euro.

But Draghi's comments echoed previous remarks, and didn't present any material changes in policy action.

"Once again, we have no commitment to action from the ECB, and no execution of promises previously made," said Carl Weinberg, chief economist at High Freqeuncy Economics. "Nothing seems set to happen now."

Investors have been speculating that the central bank may implement further buying of Italian and Spanish bonds to help stem the region's debt crisis.

Prior to Draghi's strong signals last week that the ECB will act, the Spanish 10-year yield reached a euro-area high of 7.65%, while Italy's 10-year yield hovered above 6%. The borrowing costs in both country's have eased since then, but still remain high.

On Thursday, Spain's government borrowed €3.1 million, more than its target of €3 million, but it had to pay higher interest rates than the prior month. Spain's 10-year sold at an average rate of 6.65%, up from 6.43% in July.

On the domestic front, investors will be taking in reports on job cuts, initial jobless claims and factory orders.

While economic data will be on the backburner relative to any announcement from the ECB, investors will keep close tabs on the labor market ahead of the government's highly-anticipated monthly jobs report due Friday morning.

A CNNMoney survey of economists predicts that the economy added 95,000 jobs in July -- that includes 105,000 job gains in the private sector and 10,000 job losses in the public sector. The unemployment rate is expected to stay at 8.2%.

U.S. stocks edged lower Wednesday after the Fed left its economic policies unchanged, dampening hopes for more stimulus measures.

World markets: European stocks rose in afternoon trading. Britain's FTSE 100 and the DAX in Germany added 0.3% and France's CAC 40 ticked up 0.6%.

As expected, the Bank of England held its key interest rate at a record low of 0.5% and left its bond-buying program target unchanged at £375 billion ($585 billion).

Asian markets ended mixed. The Shanghai Composite lost 0.6% and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 0.7%, while Japan's Nikkei edged higher 0.1%.

Economy: The number of people filing initial unemployment claims rose 8,000 to 365,000 in the latest week, according to the Labor Department, in line with economists' expectations.

Planned jobs cuts fell 45% in July to a 15-month low, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

At 10 a.m. ET, the Census Bureau will release data on June factory orders, which are expected to have increased by 0.6%.

Companies: Knight Capital Group's (KCG) stock plunged nearly 60% in pre-market trading after the company said it would report a $440 million pre-tax loss due to a "technology issue" at the trading firm Wednesday that led to a series of bizarre moves in the market.

General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) shares were up modestly after the auto delivered quarterly earnings of $1.5 billion, topping forecasts, despite "headwinds" in Europe.

Shares of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) were solidly higher in early trading Thursday, a day after the company reported quarterly earnings that beat expectations. The company also announced plans to buy back up to $500 million in shares.

Shares of Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) tumbled after the teen retailer slashed its forecast for the year, citing weakness in Europe.

First Solar's (FSLR) stock jumped after the company posted an 82% jump in second-quarter profit.

Shares of Sony (SNE) were down sharply after the company posted a wider loss compared to last year and cut its outlook for the year.

Shares of online review site Yelp (YELP) advanced after the company reported quarterly results that showed solid revenue growth and a smaller-than-expected net loss.

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

Oil for September delivery rose 17 cents to $89.08 a barrel.

Gold futures for August delivery fell $1.90 to $1,601.08 an ounce.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury fell, pushing the up to 1.55% from 1.54% late Thursday.  To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 32,627.97 -234.33 -0.71%
Nasdaq 13,215.24 99.07 0.76%
S&P 500 3,913.10 -2.36 -0.06%
Treasuries 1.73 0.00 0.12%
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Company Price Change % Change
Ford Motor Co 8.29 0.05 0.61%
Advanced Micro Devic... 54.59 0.70 1.30%
Cisco Systems Inc 47.49 -2.44 -4.89%
General Electric Co 13.00 -0.16 -1.22%
Kraft Heinz Co 27.84 -2.20 -7.32%
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