Stock Futures Waver Ahead of Manufacturing Report


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were wavering Tuesday coming out of the extended Labor Day holiday weekend as traders awaited data on U.S. manufacturing conditions and the European Central Bank meeting scheduled for later this week.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 12 points, or 11.16 points above fair value, at 13,087. Futures for the S&P 500 were flat, or 0.13 points below fair value, at 1405. Futures for the Nasdaq were down by 0.25 points, 0.29 points below fair value, at 2771.

U.S. stocks on Friday finished with modest gains after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke made clear he's open to another round of quantitative easing in remarks at the global economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

The Institute for Supply Management is expected by economists to report at 10 a.m. EDT that its manufacturing index increased to 50 in August from 49.8 in July. Readings above 50 indicate an expanding manufacturing sector.

Simultaneously, the Census Bureau is expected by economists to report that construction spending increased 0.4% in July, the same as in June.

The FTSE in London was slumping 0.77% and the DAX in Germany was dipping 0.17%, coming off the prior session's rally as traders awaited the U.S. manufacturing report and the European Central Bank's meeting on Thursday.

According to reports, European lawmaker Jean-Paul Gauzès said ahead of the policy meeting later this week that ECB President Mario Draghi in a closed hearing with the European Parliament Monday said he has "no problem with purchases on the secondary market for bonds of two to three years ... he said the ECB wouldn't be contravening the treaty in doing so."

"This news increased the speculation that further intervention would take the form of bond buying when the ECB meets on Thursday," said Marty Mitchell, a head trader at Stifel Nicolaus.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng index closed lower by 0.66% and the Nikkei in Japan finished down 0.10%.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was falling 3/32, raising the yield to 1.564%. The greenback was unchanged, according to the dollar index.

October crude oil futures were up 78 cents at $97.25 a barrel and December gold futures were rising $8 at $1,695.60 an ounce.

In corporate news, Valeant Pharmaceuticals ( VRX) said Monday it agreed to buy dermatology products maker Medicis Pharmaceutical ( MRX) for about $2.6 billion in cash. Valeant shares were popping more than 9.5% in premarket trading Tuesday. Medicis shares were soaring more than 37.5%.

Campbell Soup ( CPB) posted fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of 41 cents a share on revenue of $1.61 billion, beating analysts' estimates of 39 cents a share on revenue of $1.59 billion. Shares were gaining more than 4.5%.

Automakers such as General Motors ( GM) and Ford ( F) report monthly sales results for August on Tuesday.


--Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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