The Dow has now turned positive for the year, as Wall Street opens the book on a new month. August was a downer, though, for all of the key averages.
- World stocks struggled to hold onto the week's gains. In early European trading, Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.2 percent, France's CAC-40 fell 0.7 percent and Germany's DAX fell 1.3 percent. Japan's Nikkei closed up .4 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.4 percent and South Korea's Kospi gained 2 percent. U.S. stocks are poised to fall with Dow futures down 0.3 percent and S&P 500 futures down 0.4 percent.
- Oil prices hovered below $89 a barrel Thursday in Asia amid a global stock market rally that has boosted crude trader optimism the U.S. may avoid a recession. Benchmark oil for October delivery was up 12 cents to $88.93 at mid-afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude fell 9 cents to settle at $88.81 on Wednesday.
- A major part of President Barack Obama's jobs package to be unveiled next week could be a national infrastructure bank that would entice private investors into road and rail projects. The White House hasn't divulged the contents of Obama's package but he's pushed the idea of an infrastructure bank in recent speeches and has praised Senate and House bills that create such a government-sponsored lending institution.
- Today brings a heavy helping of new economic reports. Among the key readings due are new jobless claims, manufacturing from the Institute for Supply Management as well as retail sales and new car sales.