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US futures up with EU bailout fund hurdle cleared


February 17. 2013 12:02AM


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(AP) U.S. stock futures rose Wednesday after Germany's highest court rejected efforts to block a $640 billion rescue fund for Europe's economically struggling nations and ahead of the meeting by the Federal Reserve, which is expected to announce new stimulus measures to revive the U.S. economy.


Dow Jones industrial futures tacked on 38 points to 13,331. The broader S&P futures gained 5.2 points to 1,435.80 and Nasdaq futures rose 13 points to 2,792.25.


A broad coalition of interests in Germany, Europe's economic powerhouse, opposes the bailout for varying reasons. The Federal Constitutional Court's decision Wednesday clears the way for the establishment of a bailout fund and, it is hoped, more stability in Europe.


Attention now shifts to the Fed, whose monetary policymaking body is gathering for a two-day meeting starting Wednesday.


Many expect the Fed will take aggressive action following a disappointing jobs report Friday and with further evidence Tuesday that U.S. exporters and manufacturers are starting to feel Europe's pain.


The Commerce Department reported this week that the trade gap with Europe rose to the highest level since October 2007. Exports to Europe fell 11.7 percent and there are fears that the spreading recession across the Atlantic will smother a fragile U.S. recovery.


That has stoked speculation that the Fed will again take out its big guns and announce a third round of bond purchases to push down long-term interest rates in an effort to revive spending and borrowing.


Also on Wednesday, Commerce releases its report on how much U.S. wholesalers adjusted their stockpiles in July, which can provide a glimpse of the health of the economy during the second half of the year.


Economists forecast that sales at the wholesale level increased 0.7 percent in July, according to a survey by FactSet. That would represent a rebound from June and could prompt wholesalers to boost restocking later this year.


The report will be released at 10 a.m. Eastern.


Chesapeake Energy announced a huge asset sale in oil-rich west Texas, shedding nearly $7 billion in infrastructure and land holdings. The major natural gas producer has shifted its focus to oil, like others in the sector, because the price of natural gas has plummeted so severely this year.


Shares of Chesapeake Energy Corp. jumped 3 percent, or 65 cents, to $20.75 in premarket trading.


Associated Press


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