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Stock Futures Cautious as Deere Declines

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were little changed Wednesday, easing off fresh highs from the prior session after Deere (DE - Get Report), the world's largest agricultural-equipment maker, warned that global demand was weaker-than-expected.

Futures for the S&P 500 were down 2.75 points, or 1.99 points below fair value, to 1,645.25.

Deere was falling 3.22% to $90.75 after the company's outlook took on a cautious tone, citing global financial pressures and adverse weather patterns.

The European Union's statistics office in Luxembourg reported Wednesday that euro area growth fell by 0.2% in the first quarter of 2013 after falling 0.6% in the fourth quarter. This worse-than-expected report was offset by Bank of England Governor Sir Mervyn King's remarks Tuesday that there has been a "welcome change in the economic outlook," where growth will be a little stronger and inflation a little weaker than what he expected three months ago.

Agilent Technologies (A - Get Report) was rising 1.09% to $44.45 after the testing equipment maker's quarterly earnings beat estimates by ten cents at 77 cents a share, offset by a lower-than-expected current quarter guidance of 60 cents to 64 cents a share as the company announces a restructuring that will result in a two percent cut to its workforce worldwide.

Gap (GPS - Get Report) was up 1.27% to $41.40 after the retailer was raised to "buy" from "neutral" by Citigroup analysts, who referenced an improved merchandise selection and economy.

BlackBerry (BBRY - Get Report) was off 2.16% to $14.93 after the smartphone maker was cut by Bernstein analysts to "market perform" from "outperform" at a price target of $15, down from $22. "In a best case, and if the market discounts a successful turnaround, Blackberry could be shipping 7 million to 10 million units a quarter ... could justify a $20 to $25 stock price," analyst Pierre Ferragu wrote. "In a worst case, if Blackberry struggles with its sub-scale position and remains a marginalized player like Nokia (NOK) and HTC today, Blackberry could be worth less than $10."

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 15 points, or 16.25 points below fair value, to 15,160. Futures for the Nasdaq were down 2 points, or 1 point below fair value, to 2,993.25.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the producer price index fell by a more-than-expected 0.7% in April after dipping 0.6% in March. Excluding food and energy, core prices ticked up 0.1%, as expected, up from a 0.2% rise the prior month. Economists, on average, expected the ppi to fall 0.6%.

The New York Federal Reserve reported that the Empire State manufacturing index fell four points to negative 1.4 in May. A rise to 4 was expected by economists, on average, according to Thomson Reuters.

The Federal Reserve is forecast to report at 9:15 a.m. that industrial production fell 0.2% in April following a 0.4% increase in March. Capacity utilization rates might have to fallen to 78.3% in April from 78.5% in March.

The National Association of Home Builders' housing market index is expected to show at 10 a.m. an uptick in homebuilder confidence to 43 in May from 42 in April.

The FTSE 100 in the U.K. was down 0.03%. The DAX in Germany was up 0.17%. The Nikkei 225 in Japan finished ahead by 2.29% Wednesday. The Hong Kong Hang Seng index rose 0.5%.

June gold futures were stumbling $11.10 to $1,413.40 an ounce. June light sweet crude oil futures were down 50 cents to $93.71 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was up 2/32, diluting the yield to 1.97%. The dollar was up 0.27% to $83.82 according to the U.S. dollar index.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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

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