Stock Futures Show Small Gains, Euro Meeting Eyed

By Salon Staff

Published January 9, 2012 2:00PM (EST)

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street futures are slightly higher as the market looks to regain its early year momentum after a lackluster response to strong U.S. jobs numbers last Friday.

Dow futures were up 24 at 12,333. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 futures rose 1 point to 1,275. The Nasdaq composite rose 8 points to 2,360.

After a perky start to the year, market sentiment has deteriorated again due to concerns about Europe's ability to solve its debt problems.

European markets were steady Monday as the leaders of France and Germany meet to hash out a plan on restoring confidence in the euro. French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are meeting for the first time this year.

Investors will want to see how the "fiscal compact" agreed in December is being fleshed out. All EU countries but Britain agreed last month to consider a new treaty to enforce tougher budget controls by March this year.

The French and German leaders stressed that they view boosting economic growth a priority as they push through with efforts to stem the eurozone's debt crisis.

Both said they're prepared to consider speeding up payments into the 17-nation eurozone's permanent rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism, in an effort to bolster confidence.

Germany's DAX was down 0.2 percent at 6,046.83 while the CAC-40 in France rose 0.3 percent to 3,145.12. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 0.2 percent at 5,639,67.

Earlier in Asia, Chinese shares in Hong Kong and the mainland jumped sharply following a weekend government planning conference during which Premier Wen Jiabao promised to channel lending to entrepreneurs who have been battered by weak global demand.

China tightened lending and investment curbs last year to cool its overheated economy but has reversed course in recent months following a slump in global demand that has hurt exporters and led to job losses.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index jumped 1.5 percent at 18,865.72. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 2.9 percent to 2,225.89, while the Shenzhen Composite Index gained 3.7 percent. Elsewhere, South Korea's Kospi fell 0.9 percent to 1,826.49. In Japan, financial markets were closed for a public holiday.

Trading in the oil markets was fairly subdued, with benchmark crude for February delivery down 36 cents at $101.23 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Salon Staff

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