Stock futures edge lower as yen rallies

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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 aversion.

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.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: ILMN , RHT , TOT

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