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Futures slide as hotspots overseas eclipse rebound

  • July 3, 2013 - 8:05 AM

NEW YORK — U.S. stock futures slid along with global markets Wednesday as hotspots in Europe and the Middle East overshadowed positive economic signs at home.

The Dow Jones industrial futures fell 44 points to 14,817. The broader S&P futures lost 5 points to 1,602.20. Nasdaq futures fell 9.25 points to 2,914.

Oil prices are spiking above $100 per barrel as Egypt's army chief meets with top commanders to bring an end to the nation's political crisis. Egypt controls the Suez canal, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes for crude out of the region.

Islamist president Mohammed Morsi has vowed not to step down in the face of three days of massive street demonstrations calling for his ouster. At least 39 people have been killed since Sunday.

And financial markets in Portugal plunged Wednesday as the government neared collapse, with pressure growing on Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho to resign over massive budget cuts.

Two key ministers have already resigned and there are fears the country may reject austerity measures because the quality of life for citizens has eroded so severely.

Portugal's main stock index plunged 6.4 percent to 5,177 Wednesday. Another indicator of waning investor confidence in a country, the interest rate on Portugal's benchmark 10-year bond spiked 1.28 percentage points to 7.74 percent.

Developments in debt-plagued Europe and the potential for another major conflict in the Middle East eclipsed more positive employment data from the U.S.

Private provider ADP says companies added 188,000 jobs in June. That's up from 134,000 in May, which was revised down just 1,000.

It was the biggest gain since February and closer to the average of more than 200,000 a month that ADP reported from November through February.

And weekly applications for US unemployment aid fell to 343,000 last week, according to the Labor Department, a sign of steady hiring in the U.S.

The U.S. reported that its trade deficit widened to $45 billion in May, highest in 6 months, as auto imports reached record heights.

Trading will be truncated Wednesday due to the Fourth of July holiday. The stock market will close at 1 p.m. Eastern, and the bond market is also expected to close early.

© 2014 Star Tribune