Premarket futures were suggesting a narrowly mixed open for stocks in New York Thursday, after the Senate passed a $700 billion financial-sector bailout package. Futures for the S&P 500 were down 2.9 points at 1166 but were 0.7 points ahead of fair value. Nasdaq futures were up 9 points to 1588 and were 13 better than fair value. Stocks traded erratically Wednesday as traders awaited passage of the bill and took in a heap of data that pointed to a softening economy. After the close of trading, the Senate passed the legislation with a 74-25 vote. The House of Representatives had rejected an earlier version of the proposal on Monday, and the stock market responded with one of its worst performances in recent memory. In an attempt at offering additional support to the stock market, the Securities and Exchange Commission extended through Oct. 17 a ban on short sales of financial stocks. The original ban had been slated to expire Thursday. Meanwhile, Swiss bank UBS ( UBS) announced it would net a small third-quarter profit. Such an achievement would break a four-quarter losing streak for UBS. Elsewhere, the Financial Times reported that private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, together with French electric company EDF were working on a buyout deal for Constellation Energy ( CEG). In the technology space, Reuters said Japanese firm Fujitsu was in discussions with data-storage company Western Digital ( WDC) about a potential sale of Fujitsu's hard-drive business. Looking at economic data, the Department of Labor is expected to report initial jobless claims for the week ended Sept. 27, and the Census Bureau is due to announce its estimates on August factory orders.
In commodities, crude oil was down 98 cents to $97.55. Gold was losing $13.60 at $873.70. Longer-term U.S. Treasury securities were slightly higher in price. The 10-year was up 2/32 to yield 3.73%, and the 30-year was gaining 8/32, yielding 4.2%. The dollar was stronger against the euro and pound but falling vs. the yen. Overseas, European exchanges were advancing, while Asia was mixed. The FTSE in London and the DAX in Frankfurt were up, and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong finished on the upside. Japan's Nikkei ended its session with losses.