- The Washington Times - Friday, March 27, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - Wall Street was set to pare its huge gains Friday after a dip in personal incomes and gloomy news from Google Inc. and Johnson Controls Inc.

The Commerce Department said personal spending rose 0.2 percent in February, as expected, but personal incomes fell 0.2 percent. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters/IFR had predicted an income drop of 0.1 percent.

Signals out of the corporate world, meanwhile, were downbeat.

Auto parts maker Johnson Controls said it will cut jobs and close 10 manufacturing plants. And late Thursday, Internet powerhouse Google said it is laying off nearly 200 workers, while technology consulting and outsourcing firm Accenture lowered its outlook for the quarter and the year.

The negative announcements sapped strength from technology companies in particular. Tech stocks had surged Thursday and pushed the Nasdaq composite index into positive territory for the year.

Given that the Dow Jones industrial average has soared 21 percent in fewer than three weeks. investors appeared eager to cash in gains. But they were also showing some caution _ while more positive news fed the market’s huge rally, many investors are well aware that the economy and also the banking system still have many trouble spots.

Ahead of the market’s open, Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 65, or 0.8 percent, to 7,784. Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures fell 6.80, or 0.8 percent, to 820.50, and Nasdaq 100 index futures fell 9.50, or 0.8 percent, to 1,263.50.

Investors are awaiting the University of Michigan’s final reading on March consumer sentiment.

And President Barack Obama will be meeting at the White House with chief executives of the nation’s largest banks. Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner are preparing to launch a partnership with private investors to buy banks’ toxic assets.

The discussion also comes as Congress works on a bill to curb Wall Street bonuses, and Geithner plans to regulate the hedge fund industry more heavily.

In earnings news, homebuilder KB Home reported a narrower-than-expected quarterly loss thanks to cost cuts and smaller accounting charges.

The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices fell.

Crude oil fell $1.68 to $52.66 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Government bonds rose in early trading. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, slipped to 2.73 percent from 2.74 percent.

Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei stock average fell 0.11 percent. In afternoon trading, Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.32 percent, Germany’s DAX index fell 1.02 percent, and France’s CAC-40 fell 1.07 percent.


On the Net:

New York Stock Exchange: https://www.nyse.com

Nasdaq Stock Market: https://www.nasdaq.com

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