What’s the Story?

by CC March 12, 2012 9:24 am • Commentary


U.S. stock futures fell Monday after downbeat Chinese economic data and ahead of a meeting of euro-area finance ministers later in the session.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJH2 -0.12%  fell 126 points to 12,905. Futures for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index SPM2 -0.09%  slipped 3.8 points to 1,363. Nasdaq 100 futures NDM2 -0.09%  fell 6.76 points to 2,637.

With Greece on the back burner, investor attention could turn to a Federal Reserve meeting, data on consumer sentiment, and what both reflect about an improving labor market and rising oil prices.

China’s trade balance fell $31.5 billion into the red last month as imports overcame exports.

Ministers from the 17 euro-area countries are meeting in Brussels Monday to finalize the 130 billion-euro, or $170 billion, rescue package for Greece.

Spain could also be a focus after the government recently said it would miss its 2012 budget deficit targets. Media reports over the weekend said economy minister Luis de Guindos is expected to explain the overshoot at the Brussels meeting.


The U.S. Treasury Department’s monthly budget for February will be issued at 2 p.m. New York time. Economists polled by Briefing.com forecast a $229 billion deficit, against a January deficit of $222.5 billion.

The Treasury will also sell $32 billion in 3-year bond notes on Monday, with results available shortly after 1 p.m.

The U.S. Conference Board will release its employment trend index for February at 2 p.m. In January, the index read 105.8.

The earnings calendar is light, with Urban Outfitters releasing its quarterly numbers after Monday’s closing bell.

Other events on Monday include the start of a two-day conference in New York between the Bretton Woods Institutions, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations.

A previously announced $25 billion settlement between five major banks accused of abusive mortgage practices will be filed in federal court on Monday, people familiar with the matter said.


Stocks to Watch

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc., Quest Software Inc. and Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. are among the Friday stock movers that could see active trading on Monday.

Shares of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters fell more than 15% Friday on worries that a new espresso brewer unveiled by rival Starbucks could pose a major competitive threat. Starbucks shares rallied to a record high on Friday.

Quest Software’s shares rose 24% Friday after the business-software maker said it would be acquired by private-equity firm Insight Venture Partners for almost $2 billion.

Smith & Wesson shares advanced 23% after the gun maker late Thursday raised its 2012 sales outlook.


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