Pair of economic reports cut earlier futures gains

December 23, 2011 - 9:16 AM
Wall Street

FILE - In this Dec. 20, 2011 file photo, specialist Jennifer Klesaris and trader Gregory Rowe work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Global stocks advanced Friday, Dec. 23, 2011, on further signs the U.S. economy is improving, but trading activity was muted as the traditional holiday slowdown began in earnest. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock futures are giving up some earlier gains following a pair of government reports offering disheartening clues about how consumers and businesses are doing.

The Commerce Department reported Friday that consumer spending rose just 0.1 percent in November. Incomes also rose 0.1 percent. That was the weakest showing since a 0.1 percent decline in August and both figures lagged behind the expectations of most analysts.

The department also says business demand for long-lasting manufactured goods rose by the largest amount in four months in November, however declines in business capital goods excluding aircraft was actually setback in an area that is essential for an economic recovery.

A final report, expected after the market opens, will show how new home sales looked in October. Analysts are expecting the Commerce Department to report that new home sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 307,000. That's less than half the 700,000 that economists say must be sold to sustain a healthy housing market, with foreclosed homes torpedoing their value.

Less than a half hour before the start of trading, futures for the Dow are up 30 points to 12,133, while futures for the broader S&P 500 index are up 4.4 points to 1,253.50.

There are no big earnings Friday, but after the market closes, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. will release the latest figures on bank closings.

There have been 92 closings to date, sharply lower than last year when there were 157 closings by this time.