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Stock futures fall as investors await reports

NEW YORK — Stock futures slipped today as traders awaited reports on housing starts, inflation and industrial production.

The drop in futures came a day after the Dow Jones industrials rose 214 points to the highest close in nearly a month. The Dow ended above its average close of the past 200 days for the first time since May 19. Closing above that level is seen as a sign of strength.

Some pause in the market is to be expected after stocks have risen three of the past four days.

Traders are also cautious ahead of economic numbers. Economists forecast that housing construction slowed in May after a homebuyer tax credit expired at the end of April. Analysts are also looking for wholesale prices to have fallen in May following a drop in gasoline and food costs.

The government reports are due at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

The Federal Reserve is expected to report at 9:15 a.m. that production at the nation’s factories, mines and utilities increased 0.9 percent last month.

Oil companies will draw more attention after President Barack Obama said in an Oval Office address yesterday that he would make BP would pay for the oil spill. Obama is set to meet with BP executives today.

Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 25, or 0.3 percent, to 10,307. Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures fell 4.00, or 0.4 percent, to 1,105.20, while Nasdaq 100 index futures dropped 5.00, or 0.3 percent, to 1,888.25.

Bond prices rose, pushing down interest rates. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.29 percent from 3.31 percent late yesterday.

The dollar rose against other major currencies, while gold prices rose.

Crude oil fell 31 cents to $76.63 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In afternoon trading, Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.4 percent, Germany’s DAX index rose 0.2 percent, and France’s CAC-40 climbed 0.3 percent.

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