After seeing substantial weakness in the two previous sessions, stocks are likely to see some further downside in early trading on Friday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a notably lower open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by 104 points.
The continued downward momentum for the markets reflects continued concerns about the ongoing Greek debt crisis and the possibility of a default as well as the renewed worries about the outlook for the global economy.
Traders have largely shrugged off remarks from the Group of 20 finance chiefs, who pledged to support the global economy and said they are committed to taking all necessary actions to preserve the stability of banking systems and financial markets.
Meeting in Washington, the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors said in a statement that the group is "committed to a strong and coordinated international response to address the renewed challenges facing the global economy."
"Whatever this means we'll have to see, but anything short of another round of debt reduction for Greece, among other things, and we'll again be wasting everyone's time," said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak.
He added, "Greece, Germany and some EU officials still are putting on the public face that just by satisfying the conditions of the bailout they can get thru this. Hopefully behind the scenes the discussions are more realistic."
In corporate news, shares of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) may be in focus after the computer maker confirmed that it has appointed former eBay (EBAY) CEO Meg Whitman to replace Léo Apotheker as president and chief executive officer.
Hewlett-Packard also said that Ray Lane has been named executive chairman of the board of directors and said the board intends to appoint a lead independent director promptly.
Shares of Nike (NKE) may also attract attention after the athletic shoe and apparel company reported first quarter earnings of $1.36 per share on revenues of $6.08 billion, above analyst estimates for earnings of $1.21 per share on revenues of $5.75 billion.
Meanwhile, fast food giant McDonald's (MCD) announced a 15 percent increase in its quarterly dividend to $0.70 per share.
Wall Street experienced another day of substantial selling pressure on Thursday, as traders expressed renewed concerns about the global economic outlook. Stocks moved sharply lower on the day, adding to the steep losses posted on Wednesday.
The major averages climbed off their worst levels going into the close but still ended the session firmly in the red. The Dow plummeted 391.01 points or 3.5 percent to 10,733.83, the Nasdaq tumbled 82.52 points or 3.3 percent to 2,455.67 and the S&P 500 plunged 37.20 points or 3.2 percent to 1,129.56.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region saw considerable weakness on Friday, although the Japanese markets were closed for a public holiday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell by 1.4 percent, while Australia's All Ordinaries Index dropped by 1.6 percent.
The major European markets are also showing significant moves to the downside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is down by 1.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are falling by 1.8 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are falling $1.91 to $78.60 a barrel after plummeting $5.41 to $80.51 a barrel on Thursday. Gold futures, which plunged $66.40 to $1,741.70 an ounce in the previous session, are currently sliding $52.50 to $1,689.20 an ounce.
Among currencies, the U.S. dollar is trading at 76.1758 yen compared to the 76.4195 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.3459 compared to yesterday's $1.3465.
by RTT Staff Writer
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