Published September 05, 2012
FOX Business: The Power to Prosper
Wall Street was little changed on Wednesday as traders mulled headlines from Europe and subdued profit expectations from shipping giant FedEx.
As of 3:15 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 3.9 points, or 0.03%, to 13040, the S&P 500 fell 2 points, or 0.14%, to 1403 and the Nasdaq Composite slipped 6.7 points, or 0.22%, to 3068.
FedEx (FDX) cut its fiscal first quarter profit outlook to a range of $1.37 to $1.43 a share from $1.45 to $1.60. The company, which is often considered a bellwether of the broader economy, said "weakness in the global economy constrained revenue growth" at its unit that dispatches packages express across the world.
The downgrade from FedEx comes a day after a closely-watched report showed American manufacturing activity falling to its lowest level in more than three years in August. Service-sector activity in China, the world's second-biggest economy, also fell to a one-year low in August from July, according to a report from HSBC on Wednesday.
In Europe, Germany saw very light demand at an auction for 10-year Bunds. While weak bond auctions are sometimes seen as a negative indicator, in this case, analysts reckoned that it could be a sign that traders are beginning to move out of the shelter of safe-haven assets.
The economic calendar is light on the day, with a report on labor productivity due out at 8:30 a.m. ET. However, action is expected to pick up as the week progresses.
The European Central Bank meets on Thursday. Market participants are expecting the central bank to outline a bond buying plan that ECB President Mario Draghi has repeatedly hinted at. Such a plan would be designed to keep borrowing costs in countries like Spain and Italy under control as part of a bigger effort to stem Europe's debt crisis.
According to multiple media reports, the ECB will buy sovereign debt with maturity between two and three years. The plan will be designed in such a way that the purchases are "sterilized," in a bid to lessen concerns about the central bank printing money, the report said.
Then on Friday, the Labor Department releases its monthly jobs report, which is considered to be one of the most important pieces of economic data. The U.S. economy is forecast to have added 125,000 jobs in August, with the unemployment rate holding steady at 8.3%.
Elsewhere, Facebook (FB) shares got a boost after it was revealed in a regulatory filing that chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has no plans to sell shares for at least 12 months. Shares are trading at roughly half of their issue price in May.
Oil futures were slightly higher. The benchmark contract traded in New York gained 6 cents, or 0.06%, to $95.36 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline fell 0.08% to $2.95 a gallon.
In metals, gold fell $2.00, or 0.12%, to $1,694 a troy ounce.
The Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.22% to 2442, the English FTSE 100 dipped 0.25% to 5658 and the German DAX climbed 0.46% to 6965.
In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 dropped 1.1% to 8680 and the Chinese Hang Seng sold off by 1.5% to 6953.