Futures head lower as hopes for stimulus fade
NEW YORK (AP) -- Stock futures dipped Wednesday as expectations faded that central banks will step in with a quick fix to nudge along the fragile economic recovery.
Dow Jones industrial futures slid 22 points to 13,111. The broader S&P futures gave up 2.4 points to 1,399.20. Nasdaq futures fell 3.5 points to 2,723.25.
Economic indicators, including those released this week, will likely ease the sense of urgency among fiscal policy makers to act proactively.
Retail sales numbers Tuesday were much better than expected and economists expect industrial production likely increased in July as automakers boosted activity. The industrial report will be released at 9:15 a.m. Eastern time Wednesday by the Federal Reserve.
Policy makers have room to move. The Labor Department said Wednesday that consumer prices were unchanged in July from June. The consumer price index hasn't changed since March as a weak economy subdues inflation.
Yet fears of inflation in China, the world's second-largest economy, may be keeping policy makers there from the same aggressive moves they took in 2008. Beijing appears to be trying to pilot a self-sustaining expansion, even as the debt crisis in Europe and meager domestic demand slow those efforts.
Many investors had expected China to act immediately after releasing poor trade figures this month. Optimism that that will happen has ebbed.
However, trading volumes have been low, and investors may be holding off on taking aggressive positions ahead of a meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve in Wyoming at the end of this month.
U.S. earnings were mixed. Retailers continue to put up impressive numbers. While earnings at Target were essentially flat as it readied its first expansion out of the U.S., into Canada, the retailer boosted its outlook for the year and shares edged up in premarket trading.
Deere & Co. saw net income rise 11 percent, but that was well below Wall Street expectations as a slowing global economy and the effects of a prolonged U.S. drought caught up with the manufacturer. Shares slid almost 6 percent.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)