- Associated Press - Friday, May 20, 2011

NEW YORK — Stocks appear headed to open lower a day after a huge stock offering from professional networking site LinkedIn and a rise in commodity prices pushed stocks up.

 

Ahead of the opening bell, Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 28 points, or 0.2 percent, to 12,563. Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures fell 3, or 0.2 percent, to 1,339. Nasdaq 100 futures fell 5, or 0.2 percent, to 2,363.

Gap Inc. plunged more than 16 percent in premarket trading after reporting late Thursday that the cost of raw materials rose faster than expected and hurt its quarterly profit. The national clothing chain also cut its forecast for what it would earn in the full year.

Gap’s sales have been sluggish, a worrying sign for investors who are counting on shoppers to lead a recovery in consumer spending. Other retailers have also been struggling. On Thursday Big Lots Inc. fell 9 percent after news reports that it had decided not to sell itself to private equity firms.

One exception to the gloom among retailers was Barnes & Noble Inc. The bookseller jumped 30 percent in premarket trading after Liberty Media Corp. offered to buy the company for $1 billion in cash.

Software company Salesforece.com Inc. rose 7 percent in premarket trading after its first-quarter profit beat Wall Street expectations.

Stock indexes rose Thursday after professional networking pioneer LinkedIn’s value more than doubled within minutes of its initial stock offering, making it the biggest IPO since Google Inc. in 2004.

The stock, issued at $45, went as high as $122.70 just before noon and closed at $94.25 on a trading volume of 30 million shares. Wall Street skeptics warn that the breakout IPO could signal a bubble reminiscent of the late 1990s, when euphoric investors bid up the price of Internet companies that would later fail. Others were encouraged that blockbuster IPOs were making a comeback.

Thursday, the Dow rose 45 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 12,605. The S&P 500 gained 2.92, or 0.2 percent, to 1,344. The Nasdaq composite index rose 8.31, or 0.3 percent, to 2,823.

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