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Stock Futures Fall as Sandy Forces Market Closures


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures slumped Monday as U.S. futures markets closed early without notice of when they'll reopen again as the enormous Hurricane Sandy gained strength on its path towards New York City.

The New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq and the CME Group in Chicago said they will close their physical trading floors and electronic trading Monday in accordance with emergency actions by government officials as Hurricane Sandy looms.

This will be the first time in 27 years that the NYSE, a unit of NYSE Euronext (NYX) will close the trading floor because of weather.

CME Group (CME) said stock-index futures and options would be halted at 9:15 a.m. EDT.

A number of companies have decided to postpone their earnings reports amid the stock market closures.

Acorda Therapeutics (ACOR) rescheduled its third-quarter earnings release for Wednesday; Pfizer (PFE) and Radian Group (RDN) pushed back their earnings announcements to Thursday; Thomson Reuters (TRI) and NRG Energy (NRG) have delayed their releases to Friday.

Entergy ( ETR ) has rescheduled its third-quarter call to Nov. 5.

Burger King (BKW) released its quarterly results as scheduled, announcing third-quarter profit and revenue that beat estimates, as the fast-food hamburger chain offered new menu items and advertising campaigns that lifted comparable restaurants sales in North America.

Burger King also initiated a quarterly cash dividend of 4 cents a share.

In deal news, Clean Harbors (CLH), the provider of environmental, energy and industrial services throughout North America, announced that it will buy Safety-Kleen, the largest re-refiner and recycler of used oil in North America, in an all-cash transaction valued at $1.25 billion.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 60 points, or 47.21 points below fair value, at 12,994. Futures for the S&P 500 were lower by 4.89 points, or 3.83 points below fair value, at 1402. Futures for the Nasdaq were down 14.75 points, or 14.28 points below fair value, at 2644.

"Individually, the market's performance following major hurricanes has been uneven, as equities are more likely driven by wider-reaching global events than localized natural disasters," Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ said in a morning note. "On average, however, the S&P 500 rose between 3% and 6% in the subsequent one through six months. Of course there is no guarantee that history will repeat itself."

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Monday that personal income increased 0.4% in September against a gain of 0.1% in Augusts, while spending rose 0.8% last month after increasing 0.5% the previous month.

Economists, on average, were expecting that personal income would rise 0.4% and that spending would gain 0.6%.

The international markets were down. The FTSE in London was falling 0.51% and the DAX in Germany was down 0.61%. The Nikkei Average in Tokyo settled down 0.04% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed off 0.16%.

December crude oil futures were off 10 cents at $86.18 a barrel. December gold futures were up 50 cents at $1,712.40 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was up 10/32, lowering the yield to 1.71%. The dollar was up 0.19%, according to the dollar index.

The major U.S. stock averages closed near the flat line Friday as disappointing results from companies such as Apple (AAPL) and elevated concerns on earnings forecasts overshadowed a better-than-expected read on domestic economic growth.

--Written by Andrea Tse in New York.



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

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