U.S. stock futures are marginally lower this morning, suggesting the S&P 500 Index could halt its longest advance in 20 months. Reports of slowing growth in Japan fueled concern that the global economy is worsening, which overshadowed optimism the that U.S. Federal Reserve may add new stimulus. San Francisco Fed President John Williams said last week a lack of progress in reducing U.S. unemployment and the slow economic recovery suggest that it is time to move ahead with a third round of asset purchases.
Trading volume may be light today, with little major corporate or economic news expected. And many investors are in summer-vacation mode. After the closing bell, Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) is expected to report quarterly earnings of three cents a share on $573 million in revenue, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
The biggest names in retail will report quarterly results later this week. Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) reports on Tuesday, Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) on Wednesday, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD) on Thursday.
Most European stocks are lower, also due to the slowing growth in Japan. And concern remains as yields of Spanish and Italian bonds continue to rise.
Britain’s FTSE 100 slid 0.04% and France’s CAC 40 retreated 0.6%. The DAX in Germany ticked up 0.3%.
Asian stocks closed lower. Data released today showed the rebound in Japan’s economy waned in the second quarter as consumer spending growth all but stalled and export gains diminished. Gross domestic product grew only 1.4% in the three months that ended in June.
Mainland China stocks tumbled on disappointment that Beijing officials did not ease monetary policy over the weekend. Also, Bank of America Merrill Lynch today cut its 2012 growth estimate for China to 7.7% from 8%. Last week, Barclays cut China’s economic growth forecast for this year to 7.9% from 8.1%.
The Shanghai Composite fell 1.5%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong pulled back 0.3%, and Japan’s Nikkei ended nearly 0.1% lower.