Futures Edge Up as Traders Shrug Off Fitch Japan Cut

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U.S. stock-index futures drifted higher following Monday's rally as traders mulled the impact of Fitch's ratings cut of Japan and watched Europe closely a day ahead of the EU summit.

Today's Markets

As of 7:47 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed 23 points to 12512, S&P 500 futures gained 3.5 points to 1319 and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 6.8 points to 2550.

Fitch Ratings sliced Japan's long-term credit rating to A-plus from double-A, with a negative outlook. Andrew Colquhoun, the head of Asia-Pacific sovereigns at the ratings firm said in a statement that the move reflects "growing risks for Japan's sovereign credit profile as a result of high and rising public debt ratios." He added that Japan's plan to cut its debt "looks leisurely relative even to other fiscally-challenged high-income countries."

The move had only a modest impact on world markets, with European bourses holding on to solid gains after the release.

On the European front, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said it expects the eurozone's economy to contract by 0.1% this year, weaker than a previous estimate for a 0.2% expansion. The OECD also cut back its 2013 forecast to a growth rate of 0.9% from 1.4%.

European Union heads of state are set to meet on Wednesday for an informal summit on how to "boost growth and jobs." An invitation letter to the leaders said the summit would be a forum for discussion more than a place for leaders to make decisions. However, market participants said they would be watching very closely to see if the leaders hint that more action to prop up the ailing currency bloc may be on the way.

In corporate news, Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) posted adjusted first-quarter earnings on continuing operations of 72 cents a share on sales of $11.61 billion. Analysts were looking for the electronics retailer to earn 59 cents on $11.52 billion. Shares jumped 5% in pre-market trading.

Commodities markets were mixed on the day. Crude oil traded in New York slipped 11 cents, or 0.12%, to $92.46 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline gained 0.19% to $2.95 a gallon.

In metals, gold fell $8.80, or 0.55%, to $1,580 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

Eurozone blue chips jumped 0.95%, the English FTSE 100 rallied 1% to 5359 and the German DAX climbed 0.74% to 6378.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 rose 1.1% to 8729 and the Chinese Hang Seng gained 0.62% to 19039.