Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Stocks may step back after surge

Markets seen opening mostly lower, a day after the biggest gains of 2009.

NEW YORK ( - Stocks were poised to mostly lower Wednesday, following a massive rally in the previous session, as investors await more.

At 4:36 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average futures were lower. and S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were up, but pointed to a lower open after taking fair value into account.

Futures measure current index values against the perceived future performance. They are typically used as a forecast for how trading will start, though they're not always accurate.

On Tuesday, stocks surged after a Citigroup memo said the beleagured bank was profitable in January and February, and amid talk that the government may reinstate a restriction on short-selling. The Dow rallied 379, the biggest gain of 2009, a day after finishing at a 12-year low.

Asian markets joined the rally Wednesday, with Tokyo's Nikkei surging 4.6% to bounce off a 26-year low. But, in morning trading, the European indexes were lower.

Economy: The February Treasury budget will be released at 2 p.m. ET. A deficit of $205 billion is expected, according to a consensus of analyst opinions from

The government's weekly crude inventories report comes out at 10:30 a.m. ET. Analysts expect a drawdown of 1 million barrels in U.S. commercial crude oil stocks, according to a survey by energy research firm Platts.

In Washington, the congressional oversight panel is due to release a report on the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the bank bailout plan.

Oil and money: Oil prices slipped 40 cents a barrel to $45.33. The dollar rose versus the euro and the British pound, but slipped against the yen.

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