U.S. stock-index futures advanced, indicating the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index will extend a three- month high, as weak economic data from Europe led some investors to speculate policy makers will announce stimulus measures.
Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN), the largest U.S. meat processor, gained 1.3 percent in early New York trading Stephens Inc upgraded its recommendation for the stock. Pfizer Inc. (PFE) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) dropped after the companies ended most plans to develop an Alzheimer’s drug.
Futures on S&P 500 expiring in September rose 0.4 percent to 1,395 at 7:33 p.m. in New York. The benchmark measure has gained in the past four weeks as central banks took steps to boost economic growth and corporate earnings beat estimates. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures added 36 points, or 0.3 percent, to 13,103 today.
“The current thoughts are that the European situation is finally coming to a head and the strong U.S. jobless figures from last week add to the optimism,” said Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown (HL/) Stockbrokers in London. Weak data from Europe will “prove positive in increasing the likelihood of definite action from the European authorities.”
German factory orders declined more than twice as much as economists forecast in June as sales to euro-area countries slumped. Orders, adjusted for seasonal swings and inflation, dropped 1.7 percent from May, when they rose 0.7 percent, the Economy Ministry in Berlin said today. Economists forecast a 0.8 percent decline, according to the median of 35 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.
Italy’s economy contracted for a fourth straight quarter in the three months through June as manufacturing slumped and the euro-area debt crisis intensified.
Tyson Foods rose 1.3 percent to $14.36 in early New York trading after the stock was upgraded to overweight, the equivalent of buy, from equalweight, at Stephens.
Pfizer dropped 2.3 percent to $23.70 in early New York trading and Johnson & Johnson slid 0.8 percent to $68.31 in Germany after the world’s largest drugmaker and the biggest health-care products maker, along with Elan Corp., gave up on an Alzheimer’s drug after a second trial failure.
Bapineuzumab, designed to attack the brain plaques that serve as a hallmark of Alzheimer’s, failed to improve symptoms of dementia in the second of four final-stage trials of the drug, Pfizer and J&J said yesterday in statements.
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