Stocks remained southbound early Wednesday as Wall Street digested a communications mishap at Google ( GOOG) and turned defensive as Japanese policymakers considered interest-rate policy. Index futures recently showed the S&P 500 trading 3 points below fair value, while the Nasdaq 100 was set for a 6-point decline. The 10-year Treasury bond was unchanged in price to yield 4.72%, while the dollar fell against the yen and euro. The Bank of Japan began a two-day meeting to decide whether to end its six-year-old zero-interest-rate policy that has been used to battle deflation. While no formal hike is expected, the bank is expected to take preliminary steps to tighten credit as it builds toward an interest-rate move next quarter. Japan's rate policy is of interest to U.S. stock investors primarily because of its potential impact on global investors who have been financing their trading activity with Japan's cheap money. Some believe a change in their ability to carry investments with Japanese credit will result in a macro-scale rebalancing. Oil eased as traders grew increasingly convinced that OPEC ministers meeting in Vienna will vote against cutting the cartel's current production quotas. In electronic Nymex trading, April crude was recently down 60 cents to $60.98 a barrel. Overseas markets were lower, with London's FTSE 100 recently down 0.9% to 5804 and Germany's Xetra DAX down 0.3% to 5739. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei fell 0.6% overnight to 15,627, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.7% to 15,493. Google traded lower after saying it had inadvertently released certain financial notes on the Web in conjunction with its analyst day meeting last week. The notes, which Google claims are dated, pegged next year's advertising revenue at $9.5 billion, a figure that is roughly in line with Wall Street expectations. The mistaken disclosure is a fairly sensational embarrassment for Google, which makes a habit of not issuing revenue guidance. To view David Peltier's video take on today's premarket action,
click here .
Wednesday morning, Goldman Sachs cut $10 from its price target on Google, lowering it to $490. The shares closed at $364.45 Tuesday and lost $10.13 to $354.32 in the after-hours session. Take-Two Interactive ( TTWO) reported a wide first-quarter loss on a 47% decline in sales. The video game company lost $29.1 million, or 41 cents a share, compared with net income of $55.2 million, or 79 cents a share, a year ago. Take-Two doesn't expect to return to profitability until the fourth quarter of the current fiscal year. Pixar ( PIXR), which is in the process of being acquired by Disney ( DIS), posted lower fourth-quarter earnings that still beat expectations. In the quarter ended Dec. 31, Pixar made $30.9 million, or 25 cents per share, on revenue of $55.6 million. That compared with earnings of $55.2 million, or 45 cents per share, on revenue of $108.9 million, a year ago. Computer reseller Tech Data ( TECD) said fourth-quarter earnings from continuing operations fell from a year ago, as special items fudged the comparison. Stripping out items, earnings of 70 cents a share were better than expected. But Tech Data also lowered guidance for the first quarter.