U.S. Stock-Index Futures Decline Amid Concerns on Budget

U.S. stock-index futures fell, indicating the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index will extend its first weekly decline since August, amid concern the budget impasse will hurt economic growth in the world’s largest economy.

J.C. Penney Co. slid 4 percent in early New York trading after the retailer began selling 84 million shares to raise cash. Nike Inc. (NKE) surged 6.6 percent as fiscal first-quarter profit topped analysts’ estimates.

S&P 500 futures expiring in December retreated 0.3 percent to 1,688.1 at 9:54 a.m. in London. The index has declined 0.7 percent this week amid concern that Congress will fail to approve a federal budget before Monday’s deadline, leading to a government shutdown. Contracts on the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 23 points, or 0.2 percent, to 15,238 today.

“People are just headline watching in terms of the debt ceiling,” said Nick Xanders, an equity strategist at BTIG Ltd. in London. Investors will “have to wait and see what happens with the votes in the next couple days and whether or not the lights go out in a couple of weeks,” he said.

The S&P 500 rose 0.3 percent yesterday after an unexpected drop in jobless-benefit claims. The gauge had declined 1.9 percent during a five-day losing streak through Sept. 25, retreating from an all-time high on Sept. 18, when the Federal Reserve refrained from reducing the pace of stimulus.

Budget Vote

The U.S. Senate plans to vote today on a spending bill, three days before federal spending authority runs out and a few weeks before the country hits its borrowing limit. A shutdown of the U.S. government would reduce fourth-quarter economic growth by as much as 1.4 percentage points depending on its length, economists said, as government workers from park rangers to telephone receptionists are furloughed.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s final September gauge of sentiment is due for release at 9:55 a.m. New York time. The gauge climbed to 78 from this month’s preliminary reading of 76.8, according to the median estimate of 64 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The level in August was 82.1.

Source: Bloomberg

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