US stock futures slip on Middle East worries

NEW YORK - US stock futures edged lower on Tuesday, indicating a slightly weaker market opening, as violence in the Middle East kept oil prices rising and economic and earnings news failed to support the market.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Tue 18 Jul 2006, 7:29 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 3:11 PM

Shares of Target Corp. could be in focus after the retailer late on Monday lowered its July sales forecast.

Computer company International Business Machines is among top companies expected to report results.

A report on inflation is expected at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT) when the Labor Department releases the June Producer Price Index (PPI).

“The biggest thing is going to be ongoing concerns about Israel and Lebanon. It overshadows everything. (But) we’ve got both important earnings and economic data coming out today,” said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co. ”We’ve got the producer price index, and obviously we’re still concerned about what the economic data stream says to the FOMC before their August meeting.”

Standard & Poor’s 500 futures were down 3 points, slightly below fair value, a mathematical formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract.

Dow Jones industrial average futures were down 26 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures were down 3.75 points.

On Monday, US blue-chip stocks rose slightly, while the S&P 500 dipped as a drop in oil prices hurt energy shares and Citigroup Inc. reported earnings just short of Wall Street’s forecasts.

Target said on a recorded call it sees July same-store sales up 3 per cent to 4 per cent. It had forecast 4 per cent to 6 per cent on July 6.

US light crude rose 98 cents to $76.28 a barrel, supported by the risk of expanding Middle East violence as Israel kept up its offensive against Lebanon.

Stanley Furniture Co. reported late on Monday lower second-quarter earnings, hurt by weak retail demand for furniture and higher material and energy costs. ID:nWEN1174

Stanley Furniture’s shares fell 4.2 per cent to $20.25 on the Inet electronic brokerage network in after-hours trading.

Economists in a Reuters survey forecast PPI would rise 0.3 per cent compared with a 0.2 per cent rise in May. Excluding volatile food and energy items, PPI is seen 0.2 per cent higher compared with a 0.3 per cent rise the prior month.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI gained 8.01 points, or 0.07 per cent, to end at 10,747.36. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index .SPX slipped 1.71 points, or 0.14 per cent, to finish at 1,234.49. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC edged up just 0.37 of a point, or 0.02 per cent, to close at 2,037.72.

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