RTTNews - US stocks were looking to close out a lackluster week on a high note Friday, but a quiet session appears in store ahead of the Memorial Day holiday.
Stock futures were uniformly higher as of 6:20 am ET, but volume is expected to be light. The Dow Futures were up 45 points, the NASDAQ Futures were up 9 points, and the S&P Futures were up 7 points.
After mild losses in the previous session, stocks finished Thursday's session significantly lower. The major averages all closed in firmly negative territory as trader optimism dampened following the release of largely disappointing economic data.
The Dow closed down by 129.91 at 8292.13, the Nasdaq finished down by 32.59 at 1695.25, and the S&P 500 also fell, closing down by 15.14 at 888.33.
The retreat came on the heels of another uninspiring jobs report from the U.S Labor Department for the week ended May 16th. The data showed that first time jobless claims slowed but continuing claims rose for yet another week, reaching a new historic high.
American International Group, Inc. (AIG: News ) said its Chairman and CEO Edward Liddy who led the uphill task of reinstating confidence in the minds of investors, intends to bid adieu once the board finds a successor to him. Liddy was also instrumental in getting the Board to accept and segregate the roles of Chairman and CEO, and will have a separate Chairman and CEO now.
Diversified healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (JNJ: News ) Thursday said it agreed to acquire a development stage biopharmaceutical company, Cougar Biotechnology Inc. (CGRB: News ), for about $1.0 billion in a cash tender offer. Following the news, Cougar's shares gained more than 15% in the after-hours trading.
GMAC Financial Services LLC, the financial arm of automaker General Motors Corp. (GM: News ), said Thursday that it received a $7.5 billion capital infusion from the U.S. Treasury Department.
Campbell Soup Co. (CPB: News ), the world's largest soup maker, said Thursday after the markets closed that its third quarter profit dropped 67% from last year when results were boosted by a hefty gain from the sale of the Godiva Chocolatier business. However, the company's quarterly earnings per share, excluding items, came in above analysts' expectations. The company also raised its fiscal year 2009 adjusted earnings outlook.
The Office of Thrift Supervision or OTS announced Thursday the closing of Coral Gables, Florida-based BankUnited FSB, and named the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. or FDIC as receiver. Investors led by John Kanas invested $900 million to acquire the new BankUnited, making it one of Florida's best capitalized banks.
Asian stocks slumped on Friday, while European shares were slightly positive. The dollar remained on the defensive versus other majors, dropping to a fresh multi-month lows.
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