Stock Futures Survive Nasdaq Glitch; Pandora Sinks
Futures for the S&P 500 were down 1.5 points, or 1.21 points below fair value, to 1,653.25. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were off 17 points, or 16.74 points below fair value, to 14,922. Futures for the Nasdaq were down 0.5 points, or 0.28 points above fair value, to 3,101.25.
Stocks closed in positive territory Thursday during a session interrupted by a three-hour halt in trading on the Nasdaq due to a technical glitch, as encouraging manufacturing data out of China and Europe helped offset uncertainties over the Fed's stimulus wind-down start date.
Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen is expected to chair panel discussions at the annual Kansas City Fed symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo. on Friday. Investors will remain focused on potential clues on the Federal Reserve's stimulus tapering timeline. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is not joining the event this year.
"The FOMC is tasked with pulling back from the ongoing stimulus, while ensuring the recovery is not derailed -- a delicate balancing act to be sure," Ian Lyngen, senior government bond strategist at CRT Capital Group LLC in Stamford, Conn., said in a note.
At 10 a.m. EDT, the Census Bureau is expected to report that new-home sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 490,000 in July from 497,000 in June. This latest housing market release follows upbeat existing home sales data earlier this week that showed sales rising to a three-year high and greater-than-expected seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million for July. Economists warn the level of existing home sales may have been flattered by the rush of potential buyers into the market to lock in lower mortgage rates.
Financial stocks will also be closely watched. Moody's Investor Service said Thursday said it was reviewing whether it will continue to assume the U.S. government will bail out the nation's largest banks when setting its bond ratings. As a result, the agency said it could cut bond ratings for four of the nation's largest banks, and is uncertain whether other firms will also face the prospect of downgrades.
The review comes nearly five years after the U.S. Treasury injected capital into Wall Street's largest banks, all of which was later repaid, with interest. The action by Moody's could lead to ratings downgrades for Goldman Sachs