Futures Stuck in the Red; Traders Mull Data

FOX Business: The Power to Prosper

U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a lower open for Wall Street as traders mulled reports on the American economy that came in close to expectations.

Today's Markets

As of 8:38 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 37 points to 13047, S&P 500 futures dipped 5 points to 1402 and Nasdaq 100 futures dropped 11.8 points to 2770.

One of the defining features of trading this week has been the lack of volume. Indeed, there were fewer than 3 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday for the eleventh time this month. The last time volume was so low over so many days was in May 2007.

In Europe, traders received data showing confidence in the eurozone fell more than expected while the German economy shed 9,000 jobs. The unemployment rate there remains near post-unification lows, however, and traders remained somewhat hopeful that the country's labor market will hold up despite the debt crisis.

"Economic stagnation in (the second half) should push the number of unemployed slightly higher over coming months but we do not expect a marked deterioration of German labor market conditions unless downside risks to our growth forecast materialize," Thomas Harjes, an analyst at Barclays Capital wrote in a note to clients.

On the American front, new claims for unemployment benefits remained at 374,000 last week from the week prior, according to the Labor Department. Claims were expected to fall to 370,000 from an initially reported 372,000.

The Commerce Department reported personal spending rose 0.4% in July from June, as expected, to the highest level since February. Personal income rose 0.3%, also as expected,.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is set to speak on Friday at the central bank's economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Traders will be looking for any clues that Bernanke is ready to take more action, including potentially quantitative easing, to boost the flagging economy.

On the corporate front, The Carlyle Group (NYSE:CG) said it will buy DuPont's (NYSE:DD) car paint business for $4.9 billion in cash.

Barclays (NYSE:BCS) tapped Antony Jenkins, the head of its credit card business, to take the chief executive spot. The British Bank is looking to rebound from its Libor scandal.

A slew of big-name retailers also report monthly sales figures on the day.

Commodities market were little changed. The benchmark crude oil contract traded in New York fell 3 cents, or 0.03%, to $95.46 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline rose 0.3% to $3.11 a gallon.

In metals, gold dipped $3.40, or 0.2%, to $1,660 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.56% to 2421, The English FTSE 100 slid 0.15% to 5735 and the German DAX slumped 0.69% to 6962.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 dropped 0.95% to 8934 and the Chinese Hang Seng sold off by 1.2% to 19553.