Stocks futures point to quiet open as dollar falls

by Associated Press

Published: January 5,2010

Stock investors are expected to slow their pace of buying Tuesday following a big rally on the first trading day of the new year.

Stock index futures were little changed, not surprising a day after the Dow Jones industrials soared more than 150 points on upbeat manufacturing reports in the U.S. and China.

In corporate news early Tuesday, Kraft Foods Inc. said it will revise its hostile takeover offer for British chocolate and gum maker Cadbury PLC, offering more cash funded by the sale of its North American pizza business to Nestle.

Nestle, which paid $3.7 billion for Kraft’s pizza operations – including the Tombstone and Jack’s brands in the U.S. – ruled itself out of a potential bidding war for Cadbury.

Tuesday brings economic data from November, including a Commerce Department report on factory orders and the National Association of Realtors’ numbers on pending home sales. Analysts expect factory orders to have risen a moderate 0.5 percent, according to a Thomson Reuters survey. Analysts expect the pending home sales index to fall 2 percent, after rising for nine straight months.

Both reports are due out at 10 a.m. EST.

Investors were also awaiting, on Friday, perhaps the most critical economic report, the Labor Department’s assessment of employment during December.

Dow futures rose 16, or 0.2 percent, to 10,535. Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures rose 1.60, or 0.1 percent, to 1,130.40, while Nasdaq 100 index futures rose 0.25, or less than 0.1 percent, to 1,887.00.

Asian stock markets finished higher Tuesday, still gaining momentum from Monday’s manufacturing data. European markets were also higher.

Bond prices were mixed on Tuesaday. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, fell to 3.80 percent from 3.83 percent late Monday. The yield on the three-month T-bill, considered one of the safest investments, was unchanged from 0.07 percent.

The dollar mostly fell against other major currencies, while gold prices rose. Oil prices closed in on $82 a barrel, as light, sweet crude added 29 cents to $81.80 a barrel in electronic premarket trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei stock average rose 0.3 percent. In afternoon trading, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.6 percent, Germany’s DAX index was up less than 0.1 percent, and France’s CAC-40 was up 0.2 percent.

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