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Stock Futures Waffle Before Earnings, Economic Data

Minneapolis Fed President Naryana Kocherlakota will speak to business and community leaders in Great Falls, Mont., at 2:45 p.m., and Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher is scheduled to speak to a Cato Institute conference at 4:45 p.m.

The FTSE 100 in London was down 0.41% and the DAX in Germany was lower by 0.29% Wednesday. The International Monetary Fund warned that if European leaders failed to carry out decisive policy measures urgently, the pressure on European banks could result in asset shrinkage by as much as $2.8 trillion to $4.5 trillion through the end of next year.

The Nikkei Average in Tokyo closed down 1.98% and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong settled off 0.08% as wholesale auto deliveries in China shrank for the first time in eight months in September as escalating territorial tensions between Japan and China led consumers to refrain from purchasing vehicles manufactured by Japanese automakers Toyota (TM) and Nissan (NSANY).

November crude oil futures were down 45 cents at $91.94 a barrel. December gold futures were down 40 cents at $1,764.60 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was down 3/32, lifting the yield to 1.730%. The dollar was up 0.09%, according to the dollar index.

In more corporate news, FedEx (FDX) set a goal Tuesday of improving profit by $1.7 billion over the next three years, largely by cutting costs at its underperforming express air division.

Details of the plan, unveiled by CEO Fred Smith at an investor meeting Tuesday, are expected to be disclosed at a meeting Wednesday.

Wells Fargo (WFC) was sued by the federal government, which accused the bank of misrepresenting the quality of thousands of loans in order to be eligible for federal loan insurance.

Japanese automaker Toyota (TM) will recall 7.43 million vehicles globally including in the U.S., Japan and Europe for a faulty power-window switch.

Engine maker Cummins ( CMI ) reduced its full-year revenue estimate and said that it plans to slash its headcount by as much as 1,500 by the end of the year amid growing global economic uncertainties.

Specialty materials and chemicals producer Ferro ( FOE ) slashed its third-quarter earnings outlook because of its weakening solar pastes and metal powders business.


--Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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

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