Greece talks push down US stock index futures

by Fiona Gabriel | Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 | 405 views

The US stock index futures went down slightly after rising a little in the initial hours fuelling fears that the S&P 500 index may went down for the first time in five days. The investors are closely watching the Greek debt swap talks which is into its second week.

Carnival Corp., the owner of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that capsized off the small Italian island of Giglio, lost 2.6 percent in Frankfurt while Research in Motion Ltd, rallied 4.4 percent after the maker of BlackBerry smartphones announced a new management team.

Carnival declined 1.6 percent to $31.04 in pre-market trading. The world’s largest cruise company announced a review of safety procedures after the Jan. 13 accident. Its SpA unit on Jan. 19 suspended the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, who was placed under house arrest on Jan. 17 for allegedly causing the shipwreck.

RIM jumped 7.3 percent to $18.24 in early New York trading after the company changed its top management, replacing co-Chief Executive Officers Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, who guided the BlackBerry maker for two decades and struggled to compete against Apple Inc. Meanwhile, the brainchild of Steve Jobs, the world’s biggest company by market capitalization, rose 0.4 percent to $422.

The benchmark equity gauge, S&P has been witnessing an upward rise for the past three weeks- its longest winning streak since October. The good economic results and company earnings have increased the confidence of the investors. However, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures slid 24 points, or 0.2 percent, to 12,630.

January has seen the highest appreciation in U.S. stocks since 1997. This has also pushed down the benchmark gauge for U.S. options prices to the lowest ever as dealers find fewer buyers for protection against equity losses. The VIX has dropped 60 percent to 18.28 since the S&P 500 reached its 2011 low on Oct. 3.

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