LONDON - U.S. stock-index futures were little changed, following three weeks of gains for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as a report showed that China’s manufacturing expanded at its fastest pace in six months.
General Electric Co. advanced 1.1 percent in early New York trading after winning contracts in Algeria worth $2.7 billion. BlackBerry Ltd. dropped 4.1 percent after Jefferies Group LLC lowered its recommendation on the shares.
S&P 500 futures expiring in December retreated less than 0.1 percent to 1,701.8 at 7:42 a.m. in New York. The equity benchmark rose 1.3 percent last week as the Federal Open Market Committee said at its Sept. 17-18 meeting that it will continue to buy $85 billion of assets a month, surprising economists who had forecast a reduction. Dow Jones Industrial Average contracts fell 5 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 15,398 today.
“Continued positive data from China is a relief, given the market concerns over a hard landing,” said Manish Singh, who helps oversee $2 billion as head of investment at Crossbridge Capital in London. “The Fed has pulled itself out of any guidance commitment. Its dovish stance has restated the fact that central banks will err on the side of caution and do what it takes to support growth. This is positive for all risk assets, including equities.”
In China, the preliminary reading of a purchasing managers’ index for manufacturing compiled by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics climbed to 51.2 in September from 50.1 in August. That beat the 50.9 median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.
The S&P 500 fell 0.7 percent on Sept. 20 as Fed Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said policy makers may decide to reduce their monthly bond purchases at the meeting in October. Three other regional bank presidents will speak today.
Fed Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart addresses business leaders at 9:20 a.m. in New York, while Fed Bank of New York President William C. Dudley speaks at the Fordham University Graduate School of Business 10 minutes later. Fed Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher delivers a speech on U.S. banking in San Antonio, Texas at 12:30 p.m. local time.
The Fed has left its main interest rate near zero since December 2008 and has expanded its balance sheet to a record $3.66 trillion through three rounds of stimulus.
GE climbed 1.1 percent to $24.27 after winning three contracts from a unit of Sonelgaz, Algeria’s state-owned electricity and gas company. GE will supply heavy-duty gas turbines, steam turbines and generators for nine power plants, according to a statement.
BlackBerry slid 4.1 percent to $8.37 after Jefferies lowered its rating on the shares to hold from buy. The brokerage said the handset business has a negative value after the smartphone maker reported results. Jefferies also reduced its 12-month price estimate to $8 from $15.
BlackBerry fell the most in almost three months on Sept. 20, extending its decline this year to 27 percent. The company posted fiscal second-quarter revenue of $1.6 billion, less than the $3.03 billion average analyst projection in a Bloomberg survey.
Citigroup Inc. slipped 1.4 percent to $50.50. The third- largest U.S. bank by assets may say revenue fell more than 10 percent when it posts quarterly results next month, the Financial Times reported, citing unnamed investors.
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