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Stocks were subdued early Wednesday as traders digested a downgrade of



J.P. Morgan Chase

(JPM) - Get JP Morgan Chase & Co. Report

and a report that suggests


(F) - Get Ford Motor Company Report

turnaround is hitting speed bumps.

Index futures recently showed the

S&P 500

trading half a point above fair value, while the Nasdaq 100 was set for a 3-point rise. The 10-year Treasury note was unchanged in price to yield 5.15%, while the dollar fell against the yen and euro.

Overseas markets were mostly lower, with London's FTSE 100 losing 0.5% to 5632, while Germany's Xetra DAX fell 0.8% to 5447. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei was little changed at 14,644, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.3% to 15,659.

European stocks eased after European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet talked tough on inflation in an address to the European Parliament.

"We are not satisfied with what we are observing with regard to inflation in our own area,'' Trichet said, according to wire reports. "We'll continue to do all that's necessary to counter inflationary risks and anchor inflationary expectations.''

Concerns about next week's meeting of the U.S.

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Federal Reserve

led markets to a mixed session on Tuesday. For the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 33 points to 10,975, while the S&P 500 finished flat at 1240 and the

Nasdaq Composite

fell 3 points to 2107.

Ford might not meet its goal of returning to a profit by 2008,


reported, quoting unnamed executives at the automaker. High gasoline prices are hurting sales of sports utility vehicles, while competition is crimping pickup-truck sales, the executives told the news service.

J.P. Morgan was cut to neutral from overweight at Prudential, which cited rising interest rates and their impact on asset markets. The brokerage lowered its price target on the bank's stock to $45 from $51, saying an initiative to expand businesses like commodities trading could cause more earnings volatility.

To view Ana Dane's video take on today's premarket action, click here


Later Wednesday morning,

Morgan Stanley

(MS) - Get Morgan Stanley Report

will report its first-quarter results. Analysts surveyed by First Call are looking for earnings of $1.45 a share on revenue of $7.87 billion.


(FDX) - Get FedEx Corporation Report

is also set to release a profit report Wednesday.

Commodity markets were slightly weaker Wednesday, with crude futures recently falling 35 cents to $68.99 a barrel. The Energy Department is expected to say at 10:30 a.m. EDT that gasoline inventories rose last week by 1.75 million barrels, while crude supplies fell by 1 million barrels, according to a



Gold was down $1.10 to $579.40 an ounce, while silver fell 3 cents to $10.24 an ounce and copper added 8 cents to $3.10 a pound.

Two bidding groups are reportedly readying offers for



that are at or slightly below the broadcaster's current market quote, published reports said. The competing teams include one led by rival Spanish-language broadcaster


(TV) - Get Grupo Televisa S.A. Report

and one includes private equity companies Texas Pacific, Thomas H. Lee and others.