Stock Futures Pause as Rally Momentum Fades
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures signaled a mixed open after a strong rally in the prior session as the majority of large domestic banks passed an annual stress test.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 4 points, or 4 points above fair value, at 13,117, after closing at its highest level since December 2007 on Tuesday. Futures for the S&P 500 were down a fraction of a point, or 0.1 point below fair value, at 1390. Futures for the Nasdaq were down 3 points, or 2 points below fair value, at 2691, after the index closed above the 3000 milestone for the first time since the year 2000
Stocks were headed for a breather after rallying to key levels on Tuesday. The Dow closed up more than 200 points, with gains increasing toward the close after JPMorgan Chase (JPM) surprised the market and sent bank stocks soaring by announcing an increase in its dividend and a stock buyback.
In an earlier statement, the Federal Reserve held back on introducing new monetary stimulus, saying that the economy has seen modest growth. The bank also said that 15 of the 19 largest banks in the U.S. could maintain adequate capital levels even if a recession occurred.Before the bell, the Commerce Department reported that higher fuel prices helped push to February import prices by 0.4% after prices stayed unchanged in the previous month. Import prices were expected to gain 0.6%, according to Thomson Reuters. Export prices rose 0.4%, more than the expected 0.2% gain, after a 0.2% rise the month prior.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks at 9 a.m. Fears that oil prices will push up inflation could be a major barrier to the Fed taking further action, so investors will be listening in on Bernanke's description of inflation and the economic outlook. Germany's DAX was up 1.46% while London's FTSE was up 0.52%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng closed down 0.15% while the Nikkei Average in Japan gained 1.53% overnight.
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