- The Washington Times - Monday, April 13, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street was poised for a moderately lower opening Monday as investors prepare for earnings season to begin in earnest and await new economic data that will provide more details on the struggling economy.

Investors will get a spate of earnings results throughout the week, including reports from key financial firms such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. Financial companies had been among the hardest hit by the economic downturn and credit crisis, but they have also helped lead a rally over the past five weeks.

On Thursday, a surprise announcement by Wells Fargo & Co. that it will report a record quarterly profit for the first quarter, helped send the market sharply higher ahead of a three-day holiday weekend.

Along with earnings reports, investors will receive key economic reports on inflation, housing and manufacturing throughout the week.

Ahead of the market’s open, Dow Jones industrial average futures declined 47, or 0.59 percent, to 7,970. Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures fell 5.70, or 0.67 percent, to 846.90, while Nasdaq 100 index futures declined 5.25, or 0.39 percent, to 1,330.75.

The Dow has rallied five straight weeks, but last week showed increased volatility as investors prepare for earnings reports. The Dow lost 2.8 percent over Monday and Tuesday as investors became worried about potentially weak earnings reports. But after the Wells Fargo report Thursday, the Dow surged and ended up 0.8 percent for the week.

Aside from major financial firms reporting this week, investors will also get earnings results from key companies in other sectors, such as Intel Corp., Johnson & Johnson and General Electric Co.

Meanwhile, bond prices were mixed. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, fell to 2.90 percent from 2.92 percent late Friday. The yield on the three-month T-bill, considered one of the safest investments, rose to 0.18 percent from 0.17 percent late Friday.

The dollar mostly declined against other major currencies, while gold prices rose.

Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei stock average fell 0.4 percent. Major European markets were closed Monday for Easter.

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