u.s. stocks flat, oil falls but wal-mart disappoin

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    U.S. stocks flat, oil falls but Wal-Mart disappoints
    AAP News
    21:10:020 12/05/2005
    By Megan Davies
    NEW YORK, May 12 (Reuters) - U.S. stock futures were little
    changed on Thursday, as a fall in oil prices below $50 a barrel
    were offset by as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. forecasting earnings for
    the current quarter that were below Wall Street expectations.
    The world's biggest retailer said its second-quarter would
    "remain challenging" as it forecast earnings for the current
    quarter that were below Wall Street expectations, and said it
    would be difficult to reach its full-year target.
    That caused futures to lose their gains, said Andre J.
    Bakhos, president of Princeton Financial Group.
    S&P 500 futures were down 0.10 points, trading about even
    with fair value, Dow Jones industrial average futures were down
    1 points, while Nasdaq 100 were flat.
    "It appears that the market had a knee-jerk reaction to the
    Wal-Mart numbers and that seemed to have removed any slight
    euphoria in regards to the lower oil prices," Bakhos said.
    Investors were also awaiting April retail sales data, due
    out at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT), for clues on whether higher
    energy costs have crimped consumers and slowed the U.S.
    economic engine.
    Oil dropped below the $50 threshold as a strengthening U.S.
    dollar extended a heavy fall driven by rising U.S. crude stocks
    and signs of slowing global demand growth. U.S. crude fell 65
    cents to $49.80 a barrel.
    In corporate activity, shares of 3M Co., known for such
    products as Scotch tape and Post-It notes, could move after it
    said it plans to expand its filtration business by buying CUNO
    Inc. in a $1.35 billion deal.
    Other stocks that could move include General Electric's GE
    Consumer Finance unit said on Thursday it would acquire 49.99
    percent of BAC International Bank Inc., a privately held retail
    bank and credit card issuer based in Panama, allowing it to
    expand in Central America.
    U.S. stocks closed higher on Wednesday as investors were
    soothed by lower oil prices and government economic reports
    showing the trade deficit narrowed and the budget surplus
    swelled to its highest level in three years.
    On Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average ended up
    19.14 points, or 0.19 percent, at 10,300.25. The Standard &
    Poor's 500 Index rose 4.89 points, or 0.42 percent, to
    1,171.11. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 8.78 points, or
    0.45 percent, at 1,971.55.


    REUTERS
    Reut 11:09 05-12-05
 
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