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Stocks on Wall Street Head for Decline

Futures point to a lower open for the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 Thursday.
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Premarket futures were pointing toward a lower open for U.S. stocks Thursday as a set of reduced analyst estimates for the financials and an uptick in crude oil prices sent investors scurrying for cover.

Futures for the

S&P 500

were down 8 points at 1266 and were 8.5 points below fair value.


futures were down 11 points at 1905 and were 11 short of fair value.

On Wednesday, the major indices fluctuated between gains and losses before ending the day in positive territory. Concern about the financial sector -- particularly mortgage companies

Fannie Mae



Freddie Mac


and investment bank

Lehman Brothers


-- left traders without much conviction as they closely eyed the price of oil.

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With the new day came renewed worry over the fate of the battered financials. Following Goldman Sachs' slashed earnings forecast for five major financial firms just a day ago, Citigroup on Thursday lowered estimates on

Goldman Sachs

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, Lehman and

Morgan Stanley

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. Citi predicted further writedowns for the big Wall Street firms as they continue to navigate the credit crisis.

As to corporate earnings, investors are in for a batch of new reports before the session begins. Among those due to report are bookseller

Barnes & Noble

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, fast-food restaurant

Burger King


and video-games retailer


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Away from earnings,

The Wall Street Journal

reported that


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CEO Larry Montgomery will hand over head-management duties to President Kevin Mansell. Montgomery will stay on as chairman of the company, the report said.



also said that the

Federal Reserve


Credit Suisse

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last month to discuss rumors that it was planning to cut off credit from Lehman Brothers. Credit Suisse said that the rumor was untrue, the report said. Lehman shares have lately been hammered over uncertainties about its liquidity levels.

As for economic data, the Labor Department's initial jobless claims for the week ended Aug. 16 are due at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Investors will also hear the Conference Board's leading indicators report. The Philadelphia

Federal Reserve

will later release its regional manufacturing index.

In the realm of commodities, oil prices were up $1.03 at $116.59 a barrel. Gold was gaining $8.20 at $824.50.

Treasury prices were unchanged. The 10-year and 30-year note were each flat in price, yielding 3.80% and 4.44%, respectively. The dollar was falling vs. the euro, yen and pound.

Overseas exchanges, including the FTSE in London, the Dax in Frankfurt, the Nikkei in Japan and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong, were mostly trading lower.