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Thursday, December 23, 2010

WALL STREET Pre-opening >>> Waiting for Crush of Data, Futures Pause

Muted Actions Expected Ahead Of Shorten Week
Stock futures were little changed Thursday morning as Wall Street anxiously waits for the end of the holiday-shortened trading week and for a flood of new reports on the state of the economy.

As of 8.12pm (Malaysian Time) the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 6 points to 11501, the Standard & Poor's 500 futures sank 0.20 points to 1234.30 and the Nasdaq 100 futures slipped 0.75 points to 2235.25.
Even though Thursday's session is expected to be a slow one due to the Christmas holiday, traders who do show up for work won't have a shortage of economic indicators to digest as the government squeezes a slew of data into the day
The data-heavy day comes as the bulls look to continue Wall Street's hot December, which has seen the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite rally for five straight days and the Dow land at levels unseen since August 2008.

The premarkets are likely to be influenced by an 8:30 a.m. ET new report expected to show initial jobless claims inched up last week to 420,000 from 415,000. Continuing claims are also expected to rise to a level of 4.14 million.

Likewise, the Commerce Department is scheduled to give an update on durable goods orders, which measure purchases of big-ticket items like refrigerators. Economists expect orders declined 1.1% in November, compared with a decline of 3.4% in October. Excluding transportation, orders are expected to rise 0.8%.

Also ahead of the open, the Labor Department is set to issue a new report on personal spending and income for November. Economists forecast spending rose 0.5% last month, building on October's 0.4% rise.

Meanwhile, Wall Street will have an opportunity to analyze two economic reports after Wednesday's open, headlined by the Commerce Department's new home sales index. Sales activity is expected to have increased in November from a rate of 283,000 annualized units to 300,000 units.

Consumer discretionary stocks like Ford and Macy's could be influenced by the December University of Michigan/Reuters consumer sentiment report, which is expected to be revised up from 74.2 to 74.8.

Global Markets
The U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 0.08% to 5988.51, France's CAC 40 slipped 0.26% to 3909.71 and Germany's DAX inched up 0.08% to 7073.44.

In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 was closed for a holiday, Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 0.62% to 22903.00 and China's Shanghai Composite lost 0.79% to 2855.22.

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