U.S. stock futures are down slightly this morning, following
bigger losses in Europe.
The S&P 500, Nasdaq 100 and Dow Jones Industrial Average are
all lower by about 0.2 percent. Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40
declined 1 percent despite Italy successfully auctioning 8
billion euros of 10-year notes.
Today's losses come at the end of huge rally in the first quarter
as investors take a break and wait for a pullback or a
continuation of the bullish momentum. S&P also sent jitters
across the Continent after its head of sovereign ratings said
Greece will probably have to restructure its debt again.
Investors will now look to release of initial jobless at 8:30
a.m. ET as the next potential catalyst.
Asian markets fell about 1 percent overnight, following losses in
the U.S. on Wednesday. Weak results from Chinese banks and oil
companies also weighed on sentiment.
A rally in the yen is another big factor weighing sentiment
today. It's up almost 1 percent against the euro and British
pound, and about three-quarters of 1 percent against the U.S.
dollar. Aside from the yen, most other currencies fell against
the greenback. Overall, that reflects a sentiment of risk
Commodities are following a similar trend, but aren't down as
much as one would expect given the strength of the yen. Oil fell
about one-half of 1 percent, while gold and silver shed about
one-tenth of 1 percent. Copper is faring the worst, with a 0.6
percent loss. Agricultural foodstuffs are mixed but mostly lower.
In company-specific news, software maker Red Hat reported
fourth-quarter profit of $0.29 a share, beating the $0.27 average
analyst forecast. Bookings also grew at the fastest pace in half
a decade, sending RHT higher by 9 percent in premarket trading.
Life-sciences company Illumina is also up by better than 2
percent after Roche raised its hostile takeover bid. ILMN had
been trading above the initial $44.50 offer in anticipation it
would be increased.
French oil major Total is also down another 3 percent as it
attempts to plug a natural-gas leak on a North Sea platform. It
has the potential to cause TOT billions in damages, and more than
200 workers have already been evacuated.
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