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U.S. Stocks Set to Open Lower

By Tomi Kilgore U.S. stock futures dropped early Wednesday, putting the Dow Jones Industrial Average on course to snap its streak of record closes. About 90 minutes ahead of the open, Dow futures shed 70 points, or 0.4%, to 16872. On Tuesday, the Dow eked out a three-point gain to post a fourth-straight record close, the longest such streak of the year. S&P 500 index futures fell nine points, or 0.5%, to 1941 and Nasdaq-100 futures slid 17 points, or 0.5%, to 3783. Changes in stock futures don't always accurately predict stock moves after the opening bell. The S&P 500 slipped fractionally Tuesday to snap a four-session win streak. With little news to focus on, traders said the World Bank's cutting of its global economic growth forecast to 2.8% for the year from its 3.2% forecast in January helped set a negative tone for stocks. The World Bank also highlighted that China's faltering housing market was a growing concern. "The markets have had an incredible run," said Colin Cieszynski, senior market analyst at brokerage CMC Markets. "The World Bank cutting its forecast is providing the excuse for a much needed pullback." "We're in a lull period for news," Mr. Cieszynski said. So Wednesday's weakness "is just a matter of the market falling under its own weight." No major economic data was scheduled for release on Wednesday. Investors will be looking ahead to data on jobless claims and retail sales on Thursday, and wholesale inflation and consumer sentiment on Friday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note ticked lower to 2.629% from a four-week high of 2.637% late Tuesday. Crude-oil futures edged up 0.2% to $104.54 a barrel and gold futures gained 0.3% to $1,264.10 an ounce. The dollar lost some ground against euro and the yen. European markets were broadly lower, with the Stoxx Europe 600 down 0.7% and headed for the first loss in six sessions after closing at a 6 1/2-year high on Tuesday. Data showed that U.K. unemployment fell more than expected in the three months to April, fueling expectations that the Bank of England might raise interest rates sooner than expected. Sterling rallied on the data. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index lost 0.7%, Germany's DAX 30 index fell 1% and France's CAC 40 shed 0.8%. Asian markets were mostly higher, with Japan's Nikkei Stock Average rising 0.5% and China's Shanghai Composite tacking on 0.1%. In corporate news, Synaptics rallied 18% in premarket trading after the company raised its revenue outlook for the current quarter. Synaptics also announced the acquisition of Renesas SP Drivers, a maker of display products for mobile gadgets, for about $475 million. Morgan Stanley declined 1.2% after the bank said late Tuesday that it is cutting jobs in its currency and interest rate trading businesses, citing a slowdown in those markets. The cuts will affect fewer than 100 people, The Wall Street Journal reported. Orexigen Therapeutics tumbled 10% after the company said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has extended the review of its investigational weight-loss drug. Write to Tomi Kilgore at [email protected]

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