Investors looked for potential sources of optimism on Friday morning, but they failed to find much. If there was a bright spot, it was in U.S. auto sales, which rose 1.6 percent, boosting total retail sales by 0.4 percent.
That could be good news for GM, which is planning an initial public offering that will loosen its ties to the federal government. The U.S. government took control of the company and put it through Chapter 11 bankruptcy, shedding debt and under-performing assets. GM has – with government help – staged a stunning turn around that could bode well for the U.S. automotive manufacturing sector.
Prices also rose slightly – good for economists who fear deflation, but bad for consumers themselves.
It wasn’t enough to point to an optimistic day for equity indexes, but the news did keep the futures essentially flat. S&P 500, Nasdaq 100 and Dow Jones Industrial Average index futures all pointed to a flat opening, though markets dropped 0.2 percent to 0.4 percent after the open.
The Brazilians got off to a better start; Bovespa index futures rose 193 points to 66,125, perhaps indicating some potential strength in the South American nation.
On the other side of the globe, Hang Seng index futures – which cover the Hong Kong market – rose 63 points to 21,029, indicating that Asian growth may not yet have peaked.
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