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Stock Futures Point to Lower Wall Street Open


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The major U.S. stock averages were pointing lower Friday, taking a breather after sharp rises the prior session, as investors received more data on consumer trends and awaited assessments on conditions in the eurozone.

Also pending were the publication of the results of Spain's bank stress tests and a Moody's review of the country's sovereign rating that could see Spain taken down to junk territory.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 70 points, or 61.97 points below fair value, at 13,344. Futures for the S&P 500 were down 7.20 points, or 6.90 points below fair value, at 1433. Futures for the Nasdaq were falling 10.50 points, or 10.70 points below fair value, at 2804.

The major U.S. stock averages surged Thursday, getting a lift from an encouraging snapshot of labor market conditions and expectations for stimulus from China.

Investors were also provided the outline of Spain's stringent 2013 budget plan, which will focus heavily on spending reductions and is viewed as a precursor to a formal request by the country for international aid.

"There is no guarantee that the Spanish budget will not get derailed down the road, a fate that has befallen previous projections," warned Ed Meir, an analyst at INTL FCSTone.

The S&P 500 continues to be on track for its lengthiest string of monthly gains since March with the markets emboldened by global central bank stimulus measures.

"From a broader standpoint, there is growing evidence that repeated stimulative actions by global Central Banks are having sequentially less and less positive results," cautioned Richard Weeks, managing director and partner at HighTower. "This effect is being suggested as 'pushing on a string' and a 'liquidity trap.'"

Federal Reserve policymakers have "set policy to be extremely accommodative, and have stated that this policy will remain in effect at least until 2015, even if some inflation appears. These alone will not accelerate growth and employment, at least not in the current environment of deleveraging, the reluctance of businesses and consumers to borrow, and the resultant low multiplier of money," Weeks said. "QE3 in specific is aimed at the housing market, setting a long-term mortgage buying program into place. Further bolstering the housing market, and balance sheets of banks selling these mortgages, will help backstop values and consumer confidence. There is no reason to believe that this will have a direct impact on GDP and unemployment."

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Friday that personal income in the U.S. rose 0.1% in August after increasing by the same, downwardly revised rate in July.

Personal spending during the period increased 0.5% after rising 0.4% the previous month.

Economists were expecting a 0.2% rise in personal income and 0.5% increase in personal spending.

"The gain to spending as expected comes at the expense of a drop in the savings rate, not better wages as real disposable income fell 0.3%, the weakest since last November," commented David Ader, head of rates strategy for CRT.

At 9:45 a.m EDT, the Chicago PMI is forecast to have fallen to 52.9 in September from 53.0 in August.

Also, the final read on the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index, out at 9:55 a.m., is predicted by economists to come in at 79, down from the previous estimate of 79.2 for September.

The FTSE 100 in London was up 0.11% and the DAX in Germany was down 0.12% in Friday trading. The Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index finished up 0.38% while the Nikkei Average in Japan closed down 0.89%.

November crude oil futures were up 33 cents to $92.18 a barrel. December gold futures were rising $2.10 to $1,782.60 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was rising 13/32, lowering the yield to 1.618%. The greenback was down 0.08%, according to the dollar index.

In corporate news, Research In Motion (RIMM) reported Thursday a much narrower-than-anticipated loss in the fiscal second quarter as its subscriber base grew and its cash balance increased.

Shares were surging more than 16%.

Facebook (FB) announced Thursday a new functionality to allow users to buy real gifts for their friends through the social networking site.

The company said Facebook Gifts will roll out gradually, first becoming available to U.S. users.

Shares were up less than 1%.

Nike (NKE) said Thursday net income in its fiscal first quarter fell 12% from a year earlier.

The sneaker maker also said futures orders rose 6% during the quarter, down from a 16% increase in the same quarter of 2011.

Shares were tumbling nearly 4%.

Groupon (GRPN), the daily deals site, is reshuffling senior management roles in an attempt to fix its struggling European business -- a shake-up that will also include the departure of its chief of international business, according to a report from Reuters.

Walgreen (WAG) said fiscal fourth-quarter net income declined 55% from the same period last year after a larger than forecast drop in sales at the drugstore chain.

Shares were sliding more than 2.5%.




--Written by Andrea Tse in New York.



>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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