U.S. Stock-Index Futures Drop After Wal-Mart's Sales Decline
By Nick Baker
Nov. 27 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stock-index futures fell after Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's biggest retailer, said monthly U.S. same-store sales dropped for the first time in more than a decade.
Other retailers may slide along with Wal-Mart, whose sales decline comes during a quarter in which merchants last year made about one-third of their annual profit, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. Nokia Oyj, the biggest mobile phone maker, slid as a decline in the dollar made its products more expensive for U.S. consumers.
Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest oil company, gained after crude oil topped $60 a barrel. Apple Computer Inc. advanced after ThinkEquity Partners LLC raised its share-price estimate for the iPod maker by 10 percent to $110.
Standard & Poor's 500 Index futures expiring in December fell 1.20 to 1401.70 at 9:10 a.m. in New York. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures lost 9 to 12,292. Nasdaq-100 Index futures slipped 4.25 to 1816.
Stocks dropped on Nov. 24, snapping the Dow average's two- week winning streak, after higher oil prices and a weaker dollar sparked concern holiday sales and economic growth may falter.
The euro today rose against the U.S. currency, reaching $1.3114, the highest since March 2005.
Wal-Mart slipped 50 cents to $47.40. The company on Nov. 25 said November sales at U.S. stores open at least a year fell 0.1 percent, lower than the company's forecast of unchanged sales.
The slowdown at Wal-Mart may ``cast a long shadow over earnings,'' Merrill Lynch & Co. analysts wrote in a note.
Nokia fell 43 cents to $20.50 in New York. The Finland-based company gets about eight percent of its revenue from the U.S.
Exxon gained 16 cents to $72.54. Oil rose after Saudi Arabia's oil minister said his country may support a second cut in OPEC's output this year to prop up prices, which have fallen about a quarter since July.
Crude oil for January delivery climbed as much as 1.6 percent to $60.20 a barrel in New York.
Apple rose 65 cents to $92.28. ``Apple Retail Stores will deliver plenty of holiday cheer during the December quarter,'' wrote ThinkEquity analyst Jonathan Hoopes.
General Motors Corp. rose 2 cents to $31.25. U.S. sales of cars and trucks in 2007 are forecast to fall to their lowest level since 1998, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing market researcher IRN Inc.
General Electric Co., the world's second-biggest company by market value, lost 9 cents to $35.60 in Germany. GE, Alstom SA, Siemens AG, Mitsubishi Corp., Itochu Corp. and Bombardier Inc. are in talks with the Indian Railways to develop 220 billion rupees of ($4.9 billion) rail freight corridors in India, the Business Standard reported.
Lowe's Cos., the second-largest U.S. home-improvement retail company, gained 74 cents to $30.74. The shares were raised to ``buy'' from ``neutral'' at Banc of America Securities.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. fell $1.57 to $43.33. The drugmaker's shares may fall to $33 if its Hepatitis C medicine faces competition from other antiviral treatments, Barron's said, citing analysts from Susquehanna Financial Group and Wachovia Capital Markets.
To contact the reporter on this story: Nick Baker in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Last Updated: November 27, 2006 09:11 EST