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Stock Futures Higher After Moody's Cuts Bank Ratings

U.S. stocks on Friday were poised to bounce back from the prior session's drop, even as the mood darkened in Europe after Moody's Investors Service slashed the credit ratings of several banks. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 52 points to 12554. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index futures were up 5.25 points to 1323.50 and the Nasdaq 100 futures rose 9.50 points to 2561.25. The Dow endured its second-worst day of the year Thursday, off 2% as economic reports indicated a slowdown in global manufacturing. "The question now is whether stocks can find a foothold or fall further ahead of the weekend?" said David Morrison, an analyst for GFT Markets. "Investors have had to contend with a full skip-load of bad news this week," he explained. "Economic data from the U.S., Europe and China has worsened; the debt crisis across Europe continues to deteriorate and the U.S. Federal Reserve held back from expanding its balance sheet through further asset purchases." The Stoxx Europe 600 index shed almost 1%, with the banking sector applying the pressure. Data out of Germany also provided a headwind. The closely watched Ifo gauge of business sentiment in June fell to 105.3 from a forecast for a reading of 105.6 for the month, or slightly more than expected. In the U.S., banks were slammed along with the broader market on Thursday, with Bank of America Corp. (BAC) losing almost 4%. The stock edged higher in premarket trades, up 0.5% to $7.86. Also look for Citigroup Inc. (C), Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) to show some signs of life after the beating they took a day earlier. Among the likely movers outside the financial sector, Ryder System Inc. (R) shares were set to pull back after the transportation company cut its second-quarter and full-year forecasts a day earlier. On the earnings front, cruise-line operator Carnival Corp. (CCL) and restaurant chain Darden Restaurants Inc. (DRI) are both expected to post quarterly results later in the day. -Write to Shawn Langlois at shawn.langlois@dowjones.com HOT STOCKS TO WATCH Among the companies with shares expected to actively trade in Friday's session are Morgan Stanley (MS), Ryder System Inc. (R) and Harvest Natural Resources Inc. (HNR). Moody's Investors Service downgraded a handful of banks and securities companies with global capital-market operations, as part of its broad review to account for sluggish economic conditions and tougher regulations. Morgan Stanley shares were up 3.2% to $14.41 after hours as Moody's cut the firm's credit rating just two notches, rather than a possible three-notch downgrade. Ryder lowered its earnings projections for the second quarter and the full year, primarily due to lower-than-expected results in its fleet-management-solutions business. Shares slumped 8.9% to $37.13 after hours as the truck-leasing company said it expects weak demand to continue through 2012. Oil company Harvest Natural Resources Inc. said Thursday it agreed to sell its Venezuela assets to Indonesia's state-owned giant PT Pertamina for $725 million. Shares surged 85% to $9.01 after hours. Associated Estates Realty Corp. (AEC) unveiled plans to offer 5.5 million common shares as the real-estate investment trust looks to raise funds for property acquisitions and development. Shares were off 3.8% to $14.35 after hours. Watchlist: American International Group Inc. (AIG) docked the pay of Henri Courpron, the chief executive of its aircraft-leasing unit, after recently discovering he had a personal relationship with an employee, the bailed-out insurer said Thursday. Arch Coal Inc. (ACI) said it plans to cut production, idle several operations and trim its work force by about 750 full-time positions, citing "the unprecedented downturn in demand for coal-based electricity." IHS Inc. (IHS) said its largest stakeholder's upsized offering of 8.7 million shares of the company's stock priced at a 1.8% discount to the company's closing price Thursday. Jaguar Mining Inc. (JAG, JAG.T) has named board member John Andrews as its interim chief executive officer and said it is dissolving the three-person office of the chairman, a move that comes six months after the departure of the Brazilian gold producer's former CEO. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) said the U.S. Food & Drug Administration didn't approve the expanded use of its anticlotting drug Xarelto for the treatment of patients with a heart problem known as acute coronary syndrome. Medical-device maker Medtronic Inc. (MDT) approved a roughly 7.2% increase in its quarterly dividend, joining a list of firms looking to bolster shareholder value with increased payouts. Standard & Poor's said it plans to add Monster Beverage Corp. (MNST) to its S&P 500 index, replacing Sara Lee Corp. (SLE). The New York Times Co. (NYT) has named Joi Ito and Brian McAndrews to its board, bringing on two new directors with digital and venture-capital experience. Write to Nathalie Tadena at nathalie.tadena@dowjones.com

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