U.S. stock futures are looking at a lower open Tuesday morning, with Dow futures poised to drop 30 points at the open.
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The blue-chip average lost about 40 points in Monday’s session, and the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 lost ground, too. In fact, during the past 15 Mondays, stocks have fallen in 14 of them. It seems Wall Street hates Monday more than you do!
It’s a light economic calendar today, with a report on housing conditions in September from the National Association of Home Builders on tap. In August, the NAHB housing market index rose to its best level since early 2007.
Wall Street also awaits a speech by Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke Wednesday morning. A pair of researchers at the San Francisco Fed say the U.S. unemployment rate would be around 7% -- instead of 8-9% -- if consumers were less doubtful. Consumer uncertainty about fiscal and economic issues is propping up joblessness by making consumers less inclined to spend money.
The researchers also found that consumers' doubts have never been a greater drag on the economy than right now, because in past recessions and recoveries the Fed has always been able to spur demand by lowering interest rates. Interest rates cannot go any lower -- they've been hovering near zero since the end of 2008.
Meanwhile, McDonald's (MCD) seasonal "McRib" sensation is reportedly hitting the market later this year. Typically, the McRib has a limited (but successful) run in October and November. This year, it'll hit the market in late December, according to an internal McDonald's memo obtained by AdAge.
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The reason: executives are looking for ways to strengthen the fast-food chain's fourth quarter -- and they're hoping the McRib is their solution. Last December, McDonald's same-store sales were up a whopping 9.8% mainly due to mild winter weather. That success is making for tough comparisons this winter.
Talk about an incentive to take a vacation this fall! Southwest Airlines and AirTran are doubling their frequent-flier credits. The one catch: passengers have to complete their trip my November 15. And it’s even better if you want to go overseas: AirTran is offering triple points on international flights.