Futures Higher As Oil Falls To 19-Month Low

by: SA Editors

At 8:40 AM EDT:

U.S. Futures

S&P 500: +1.80; 1,424.30
NASDAQ 100: +4.00; 1,807.50
Dow: +23.00; 12,515.00

International Indexes

NIKKEI 225: +0.86%; 17,237.77 (+146.18)
HANG SENG: -0.66%; 19,898.08 (-131.58)
S&P/ASX 200: +1.59%; 5,589.70 (+87.70)
BSE SENSEX 30: -0.63%; 13,566.33 (-85.82)

FTSE 100: +0.07%; 6,198.60 (+4.40)
CAC 40: +0.51%; 5,546.81 (+28.22)
XETRA-DAX: +0.53%; 6,642.45 (+34.86)

Commodity Futures (Reuters/Jefferies CRB)

Oil: -3.74%; $53.99 (-$2.10)
Gold: -0.02%; $609.30 (-$0.10)
Natural Gas: +0.20%; $6.39 (+$0.01)
Silver: -0.28%; $12.325 (-$0.035)

Asian Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

Thailand's Government Tightens Foreign Investment Laws, Imposes New Limits Thailand's military government placed new restrictions on foreign ownership in the nation's companies, rattling investors two weeks after a bungled attempt to impose capital controls.

China Life Passes ING, Allianz in Value as Shares Surge in Shanghai Debut China Life Insurance Co.'s (NYSE:LFC) yuan-denominated shares more than doubled on their first day of trading on the Shanghai stock exchange, making the company the world's second-biggest insurer by market value.

Asian Stocks Rebound From Four-Day Slide; Sony, Alinta, China Life Surge Asian stocks rebounded from four days of losses after Sony Corp. (NYSE:SNE) met its PlayStation 3 shipment targets and Australia's Alinta Ltd. received a buyout offer.

Cairn India's Shares Fall 20 Percent on Debut on Output Delay Concerns Shares of Cairn India Ltd., which raised $1.93 billion in India's second-biggest initial sale last month, fell as much as 20 percent in its trading debut on concern that the company's oil production may be delayed.

Alinta's Management Makes Buyout Offer, Says Macquarie May Take a Stake Alinta Ltd., Australia's biggest gas distributor, received a takeover approach from management backed by Macquarie Bank Ltd. in what would be the country's largest buyout of an energy company.

European Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

European Stocks Rise for First Time in Five Days; BASF, British Air Climb European stocks gained for the first time in five days after crude oil dropped below $55 a barrel in New York. BASF AG (BF) and British Airways Plc (NYSEARCA:BAB) led an advance by companies that benefit from lower energy costs.

BP's Production Falls for Sixth Quarter, Hurt by Reduced Flow From Alaska BP Plc (NYSE:BP) said production declined for a sixth quarter on start-up delays in the Gulf of Mexico and reduced crude flow at its Prudhoe Bay field in Alaska.

Marks & Spencer Sales Momentum Will Slow After Gaining Over Holiday Period Marks & Spencer Group Plc, reporting a sixth straight quarterly sales increase on gains in fashion, said the momentum is likely to slow because of a ``more difficult'' retail climate.

Ranbaxy Says It May Be Interested in Buying Merck KGaA's Generic Drug Unit Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd., India's biggest pharmaceutical company, may bid for the generic-drug unit of Germany's Merck KGaA (NYSE:MRK) in a sale that analysts say could reach 4 billion euros ($5.2 billion).

U.S. Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

Oil Drops to Lowest Since 2005 on Warm U.S. Weather, Increased Inventories Crude oil plunged to the lowest price since 2005, trading near $54 a barrel as mild weather in the U.S. reduced heating fuel demand and caused inventories to swell.

GE May Sell Its Plastics Unit, Seeks as Much as $10 Billion, People Say General Electric Co. (NYSE:GE) may sell its plastics unit for as much as $10 billion after seeking bids for the operation, people with direct knowledge of the auction said.

Hedge Fund Borrowing, Margins Examined by SEC, Fed, European Authorities U.S. and European regulators, turning a spotlight on one of Wall Street's most profitable businesses, are conducting a joint probe into whether banks and securities firms set strict enough limits on loans to hedge funds.

Supervalu Profit Jumps 51 Percent on Purchase of Albertson's Supermarkets Supervalu Inc. (NYSE:SVU), the second-largest U.S. supermarket chain, said third-quarter profit jumped 51 percent after it acquired Albertson's Inc.

Great Atlantic Records First Profit in Five Quarters After Lowering Costs Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (GAP), the owner of the A&P and Food Emporium supermarket chains, reported its first profit in five quarters after it reduced costs and recorded a tax benefit.