Stock Futures Waver Ahead of U.S. Data


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were toggling between positive and negative territory Tuesday ahead of a number of domestic economic releases and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech on monetary policy at the annual economics symposium later this week in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were falling 17 points, or 15.67 points below fair value, to 13,090. Futures for the S&P 500 were down 2.3 points, or 2.39 points below fair value, at 1406. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 were down 3 points, or 1.15 points below fair value, at 2779.

"The financial markets have another big event on the horizon, which is likely to keep trading relatively subdued," said Paul Donovan, global economist at UBS. "The economics holiday camp that is the Jackson Hole Symposium gets underway at the end of the week offers an opportunity for a more in depth, serious discussion of less conventional monetary policy."

"We do not expect Chairman Bernanke's speech on Friday morning, entitled 'Monetary Policy Since the Crisis,' to shed much additional light on the near-term tactics of monetary policy beyond last week's FOMC minutes," according to economists at Goldman Sachs. "Instead, the main question is whether he breaks new ground regarding the Fed's longer-term strategy."

"An aggressive approach would be to signal that the committee is moving closer to the 'unconventional' easing options ... "

While Bernanke is expected to speak on Friday at Jackson Hole, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has decided not to attend the Jackson Hole summit because of the "heavy workload foreseen in the next few days," a spokesman said.

U.S. stocks finished mixed on thin volumes Monday as traders looked ahead to the summit, hoping for hints about the timetable for further monetary stimulus.

At 9 a.m. EDT, a read of the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index is expected to show a fall annually of 0.1% in June after a decline of 0.7% in May.

The Conference Board's consumer confidence index -- to be released at 10 a.m. -- is expected to show a rise to 66 in August from 65.9 in July.

Overseas markets were subdued as global growth anxieties overshadowed hopes for global central bank accommodation, with Japan slashing its assessment of the economy, referencing a slowdown in the U.S. and China, and the European debt crisis. Japan warned of potential risks for the country due to the sluggish global environment.

Spain's second-quarter gross domestic product shrank 1.3% from the same time last year, worse than the prior estimate of a 1% contraction and indicating that the country's was in a deeper recession than previously thought. The data was overshadowing improved eurozone lending data.

The FTSE in London was down 0.32% and the DAX in Germany was down 0.84%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng index finished up 0.07% and the Nikkei in Japan closed down 0.57%.

October crude oil futures were rising 64 cents at $96.11 a barrel and December gold futures were slipping $9.70 at $1,665.90 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was up 1/32, diluting the yield to 1.651%. The greenback was down 0.28%, according to the dollar index.

Apple ( AAPL) on Monday promoted Dan Riccio and Craig Federighi to senior vice presidents and said Bob Mansfield, who was going to retire, will stay with the company to work on future projects. Mansfield is senior vice president of hardware engineering at Apple, reporting to CEO Tim Cook.

Meanwhile, Apple is seeking bans on the sale of eight Samsung phones, following its patent victory over its rival.

Apple identified eight older-model smartphones, including the Galaxy S2 and Droid Charge, according to a Reuters report.

Knight Capital ( KCG) has selected three new directors, including TD Ameritrade CEO Fred Tomczyk, three weeks after it received a $400 million injection from outside investors, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

PVH Corp. ( PVH), the apparel maker, topped Wall Street's earnings expectations for its fiscal second quarter and gave a strong third-quarter outlook on Monday.

Bank of America's ( BAC) wealth-management unit will host a conference call Tuesday with Paulson & Co.'s John Paulson, allowing some of its financial advisers and their clients to question the struggling hedge fund chief, sources at the bank confirmed with Reuters.


--Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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