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Futures Down as Investors Tread Cautiously

Stock futures were setting up for a slightly weaker open Wednesday as investors show caution on a light data day.



) -- Stock futures pointed to a slightly weaker open Wednesday as investors showed caution on a day that promises to be light on data.

Futures for the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

were down by 4 points, or 9 points below fair value, at 10,784. Futures for the

S&P 500

were lower by a point, or 2 points below fair value, at 1141 and


futures were off by a quarter of a point, or 2 points below fair value.

Stocks managed to hold gains Tuesday despite earlier weakness spurred by weaker-than-expected readings on September consumer confidence and regional manufacturing activity.

Overseas, Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.2%, and Japan's Nikkei advanced 0.7%. The FTSE in London was slipping 0.3%, and the DAX in Frankfurt was also declining 0.3%.

Mortgage applications fell 0.8% on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The decline was milder than the previous week's release showing that applications declined by 1.4%.

At 10:30 a.m. ET, the Energy Information Administration will issue its weekly read on energy inventories. Analysts polled by Platts are anticipating a 2.2 million-barrel build to oil supplies in the week ended Sept. 24. Gasoline and distillate stockpiles are also slated to grow, by 800,000 barrels and by 400,000 barrels, respectively.

The November delivery crude oil contract was adding 14 cents to trade at $76.32 a barrel.

Senior management at


(BP) - Get Free Report

got a shake-up ahead of Bob Dudley's start as CEO of the company. Mark Bly will head BP's new safety division, and Andy Inglish will return to his role as head of the company's upstream business.


lowered its earnings and sales outlooks for the year ending March 2011, citing a swift rise in the yen, current sales performance and expected sales for the upcoming holiday season.

Elsewhere in commodity markets, the December gold contract was higher by $2.20, at $1,310.50 an ounce.

The dollar was trading lower against a basket of currencies, with the dollar index down by 0.3%, while the benchmark 10-year Treasury note weakened 1/32, strengthening the yield to 2.472%.

--Written by Melinda Peer in New York


Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.