Publish date:

Stock Futures Hint at Flat Open

S&P 500 futures were down fractionally at 1282 but were 0.6 points above fair value. Nasdaq futures were down 2.8 points at 1899 and were 3.9 points short of fair value.

Updated from 7:57 a.m. EDT

Premarket futures were forecasting a flat open for stocks in New York Thursday, as several key players in the credit crunch attempted to demonstrate a shift in direction and Tropical Storm Gustav lumbered toward oil production facilities in the Gulf of Mexico.

Futures for the

S&P 500

were down fractionally at 1282 but were 0.6 points above fair value.

Nasdaq

futures were down 2.8 points at 1899 and were 3.9 points short of fair value.

After the close Wednesday, struggling

mortgage company

Fannie Mae

undefined

said it was reorganizing senior management. Fannie and its sister company,

Freddie Mac

undefined

, have been at the center of the financial storm stemming from mortgage-related credit losses.

Meanwhile, municipal bond insurer

MBIA

(MBI) - Get MBIA Inc. Report

, which has suffered after losing its triple-A credit status earlier this year, said it would back $184 billion in bonds for Financial Guaranty. The move is likely to send MBIA shares higher, as it demonstrates that the company can secure business despite its credit downgrade.

TheStreet Recommends

In corporate earnings, home-products retailer

Sears Holding

(SHLD)

announced a quarterly profit that declined from last year and missed analyst expectations.

Elsewhere, automaker

Toyota

(TM) - Get Toyota Motor Corp. Sponsored ADR Report

cut its 2009 revenue projections on declining U.S. demand for its heavier vehicles.

On the economic-data front, the Bureau of Economic Analysis' GDP number is due before the market opens, as are initial jobless claims for the week ended Aug. 23.

Shifting to commodities, crude oil was gaining 63 cents to $118.78. This week, traders have been monitoring Tropical Storm Gustav, which could cause supply disruptions along the Gulf Coast. Gold was adding $4.40 to $838.40.

Shell Oil

said it may curtail output as it tries to evacuate workers in its Gulf oil fields by the end of the weekend.

ConocoPhillips

TICKER TYPE="EQUITY" SYMBOL="COP" EXCHANGE="Nasdaq" PRIMARY="NO"/>,

Transocean

TICKER TYPE="EQUITY" SYMBOL="RIG" EXCHANGE="Nasdaq" PRIMARY="NO"/> and

BP

TICKER TYPE="EQUITY" SYMBOL="BP" EXCHANGE="Nasdaq" PRIMARY="NO"/> also announced partial evacuations from drilling operations.

Longer-dated U.S. Treasury securities were declining in price. The 10-year was down 8/32, yielding 3.79%, and the 30-year was losing 13/32 to yield 4.41%. The dollar was weakening vs. its major foreign competitors.

Overseas markets were mixed. The FTSE in London and the Nikkei in Japan were trading higher, while the Dax in Frankfurt and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong were losing ground.