Futures lower on bloodbath in Japan
David Russell | [email protected]
S&P 500 futures are down about 0.4 percent. Losses in Europe range from 0.6 percent in France to 1.4 percent in Germany, though they have climbed back near their highs of the session.
The big catalyst today is a 6 percent drop in the Tokyo stock market and a 2 percent surge in the Japanese yen. The move follows a steady rally by the Nikkei and decline in the currency since November.
The World Bank issued a report lowering its global economic-growth forecast because of weakness in emerging markets. It added that the risk of financial crisis in Europe has abated. Today is also the busiest session this week for U.S. data, with retail sales, initial jobless claims and export/import prices due at 8:30 a.m. ET.
The strong yen dominates trading in the foreign-exchange market and is affecting other risk currencies, such as the euro and the Canadian dollar. The Australian dollar, however, is up for a second day and is trying to claw its way back from a 2-1/2 year low.
Commodities are mostly bearish as well. Oil is down almost half a percent, and copper is off by more than three-quarters of a percent. Precious metals and agricultural products are also down.
In company-specific news, newspaper publisher Gannett agreed to acquire broadcaster Belo for $1.5 billion to expand its television business. Chinese semiconductor maker Spreadtrum Communications is also surging after raising revenue guidance amid strong demand for smart phones.