U.S. stock futures mixed ahead of holiday
ASSOCIATED PRESS May 25, 2012 9:16AM
FILE - In a Dec. 9, 2011 file photo specialist Michael Gagliano, foreground right, works at a post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Wall Street appeared set for a higher open, Friday May 25, 2012 with Dow Jones industrial futures rising 0.2 percent to 12,558 and S&P 500 futures gaining 0.3 percent to 1,326.20. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Updated: May 25, 2012 10:06AM
NEW YORK — U.S. stock futures were mixed Friday ahead of the long holiday weekend on concerns over the lack of a concrete plan to keep Greece in the European currency union.
Dow futures are down 11 points to 12,525. S&P 500 futures are up 1 point at 1,324. Nasdaq futures are up 6 points to 2,542.
A rise in a consumer confidence indicator in Germany helped market sentiment as it suggested the core of the European economy remains relatively stable despite the financial turmoil and uncertainty over the region’s 17-country monetary union.
Sharp losses earlier in the week have also encouraged some investors to hunt for cheapened stocks before the Memorial Day weekend, but gains appeared fragile as the outlook for Europe remains dark. U.S. stock markets are closed Monday.
The likelihood of Greece leaving the euro has been growing steadily since early May, when political parties opposed to the terms of the country’s financial rescue made huge gains in an otherwise inconclusive election.
A new ballot planned for next month could see the anti-bailout political parties gain power, which would raise the likelihood of the country leaving the euro.
European leaders say they want Greece to stay in the euro, but have so far shown no willingness to compromise on its austerity terms. The uncertainty of a Greek exit from the euro will hang over European markets at least until the elections on June 17.
Oil futures are up 46 cents to $91.12.
European markets were also mixed Friday. Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.4 percent to 5,331 by early afternoon in London, while Germany’s DAX edged higher to 6,319. France’s CAC-40 was down 0.3 percent at 3,029.
In Asia, media reports that some of China’s biggest banks will miss their annual lending targets for the first time in seven years rattled markets. Hesitation to take out loans suggests companies are delaying investment due to uncertainty about the economic outlook.
While Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose marginally to 8,568.08, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.3 percent to 18,609.85. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.4 percent to 1,821.98 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.6 percent to 4,033.60.