Stock futures signal weak start for Wall Street

By @ibtimes on

Stock index futures pointed to a slightly weaker start for Wall Street on Thursday, with futures for the S&P 500, Dow Jones industrial average and Nasdaq down 0.1 to 0.2 percent by 0847 GMT.

* Risk appetite retreated on growing fears of monetary tightening in China after a media report suggested the country's inflation figures will be higher than expected in March.

* Some caution was also expected to prevail ahead of upcoming corporate results, with the spotlight likely to be on the possible impact of rising raw material costs on margins and the effect of supply chain disruptions arising from the earthquake in Japan.

* Google is scheduled to release results after markets close on Thursday, with analysts expecting to see a 25 percent year-on-year increase in net revenue to $6.32 billion and earnings per share of $8.10, up from $6.76 a year earlier.

* The impact of rising commodity prices will also be in focus at the release of the producer price index figures for March at 1230 GMT. Year-on-year producer prices is forecast to rise to 6.2 percent from 5.6 percent.

* Other data scheduled for release include weekly jobless claims numbers, also due at 1230 GMT.

* U.S. stocks finished mostly flat in a choppy session on Wednesday, as investors bet on strong technology earnings even as JPMorgan Chase's numbers weighed on other market sectors.

* In company news, Italian car maker Fiat wants to hike its stake in Chrysler to 46 percent by June, as soon as the U.S. group manages to repay $7 billion of government debt, an Italian daily said.

* Suppliers to Apple Inc have begun production of white iPhones after a delay of almost 10 months, pointing to a launch date of within a month, two people familiar with the situation said on Thursday.

* BP and Russia's Rosneft have extended by a month the deadline to complete a $16 billion share swap hours before its expiry, giving BP more time to salvage a deal beset by problems from the start.

* U.S. regulators are probing whether some major banks colluded to manipulate a global benchmark interest rate before and during the financial crisis, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation.

* In a frenzy to protect its interests at the start of the credit crisis, Goldman Sachs Group Inc sold mortgage-linked derivatives to clients at inflated prices and misrepresented the nature of the deals, according to documents released by a Senate subcommittee.

* Commodities giant Glencore launched its long-awaited offering of up to $11 billion on Thursday, outlining plans for a May debut that will boost its firepower for acquisitions and make paper millionaires of its partners.

* Shares in Europe fell in early trade, with the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top shares down 0.2 percent at 1,132.69 points.

(Reporting by Harpreet Bhal; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

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