Stock Futures Slip Ahead of Data, Bernanke


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were down slightly Wednesday as investors paused ahead of a speech later this week from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and ahead of fresh economic data, including the latest read on second-quarter GDP.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were falling 7 points, or 0.05%, to 13,079. Futures for the S&P 500 were down 1 point, or 0.07%, to 1406.80. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 were down 2 points, or 0.07%, at 2778.75

U.S. stocks finished mixed Tuesday as investors mostly stood pat ahead of Bernanke's speech at the Jackson Hole, Wyo., global economic symposium this weekend.

The economic calendar Wednesday includes the second estimate of second-quarter gross domestic product at 8:30 a.m. EDT, pending home sales for July at 10 a.m., and the Fed's beige book report on economic conditions at 2 p.m.

European stocks were moving lower. Britain's FTSE 100 was down 0.4%, while Germany's DAX declined 0.4%.

Asian shares ended Wednesday's trading session mixed. Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.4% to close at 9,069.81, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.1%.

Cho Byung-hyun, an analyst at Tong Yang Securities in Seoul, said investors and traders are fixated on Bernanke's speech. Investors will watch carefully for clues about the central bank's intentions to try to speed up the U.S. economic recovery.

"Investor expectations are mixed about the Friday speech. There are hopes for another round of stimulus by the Fed and also uncertainty that they may not do it," said Cho.

October crude oil futures were falling 81 cents to $95.52 a barrel and December gold futures were slipping $1.90 to $1,667,80 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was trading at 1.63%. The greenback was up 0.07%, according to the dollar index.

In corporate news, H.J. Heinz ( HNZ), the ketchup giant, is expected by analysts Wednesday to post fiscal first-quarter profit of 80 cents a share, up from 78 cents a year earlier.

Pandora Media ( P) is scheduled to report its fiscal second-quarter results after Wednesday's closing bell and analysts calls for a loss of 3 cents a share in the July-ended period on revenue of $100.9 million.

WellPoint ( WLP) President and CEO Angela Braly resigned Tuesday amid investor frustration with the stock performance of the second-largest health insurer in the U.S.

Braly took over as president and CEO in 2007.


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