Stocks to fall; jobless rate expected to rise

Economists estimate the unemployment rate grew to 9.6% in June.

By TheStreet Staff Jul 2, 2009 7:39AM

TheStreet.com

By Elizabeth Trotta, TheStreet.com 

 

Commodities retreated and premarket futures suggest a lower open for stocks in New York on Thursday ahead of the most anticipated economic data of the holiday-shortened week.

 

Futures for the S&P 500 Index were down 6.3 points at 912.90, and were 6.39 points below fair value. Futures on the Nasdaq were losing 8.5 points to 1470.25, and were 9.67 points below fair value.

 

Wall Street will be focused on the U.S. government's employment report due out at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Economists estimate that job losses increased to 365,000 in June from 345,000 in May, and for the unemployment rate to have risen to 9.6% from 9.4%.

Separately, data on new jobless claims for last week will also be available. The number of people seeking jobless benefits is expected to have improved to 615,000 from 627,000 the previous week.

 

Investors will also be watching for the Treasury Department to name as many as nine investment managers to oversee funds that will buy toxic securities from financial institutions as part of the Public Private Investment Program, according to reports. BlackRock, Allianz's Pimco, TCW Group and Wellington Management, as well as billionaire investor Wilbur Ross and private investor Angelo Gordon may have been among those under consideration, according to reports by the Wall Street Journal and Reuters.

 

In corporate news, China’s Beijing Automotive might offer to buy the Opel line from bankrupt automaker General Motors within the next few days, the Journal reported. Canada’s Magna International is still seen as the front-runner to buy the unit.

 

Meanwhile, automotive parts supplier Lear is preparing to file for bankruptcy, and has lined up financing to fund its operations while under court protection.

 

Commodities were under pressure early, with crude oil futures falling $1.42 to $67.89 a barrel, a day after the Energy Department reported that gasoline and distillate inventories increased more than expected last week. 

 

Gold was also falling, losing $9.10 to $932.20 an ounce.

 

Stocks overseas were mostly lower. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 and the Dax in Frankfurt were falling 0.7% and 1.6%, respectively. In Asia, the Nikkei in Japan and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong closed lower by 0.6% and 1.1%, respectively.

 

Longer-dated Treasuries were falling in price, rising in yield. The 10-year was losing 1/32 to yield 3.54%, while the 30-year was falling 4/32, yielding 4.34%.

 

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished the Wednesday session on a modestly lower note, but it is worth mentioning today's retreat took place after six consecutive gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.1%) and S&P 500 (-0.2%) settled not far below their flat lines, while the Nasdaq Composite (-0.8%) lagged throughout the session.

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