A man walks in front of the New York Stock Exchange late last year.(Photo: Kathy Willens, AP)
Wall Street stock futures were taking a breather on Thursday, moving
in a narrow range with slight declines, in the wake of the promising
start to 2013 trading that saw major U.S. stock market indexes leap
Ahead of the market open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
index fell 0.05% to 13,325, the Standard & Poor's 500 index
declined 0.3% to 1,453, and the Nasdaq-100 index was off 0.05%, at
In the prior trading session, all three indexes bounded
higher as investors expressed relief over a deal in Washington aimed at
preventing a series of automatic tax rises and spending cuts from
The Dow ended the day 308 points higher, for a gain
of 2.4%. The S&P 500 closed out trading with a rise of more than
2.5%. The Nasdaq Composite index, home to a lot of technology stocks,
rallied 3.1%, to close at 3,112.
But Wednesday's euphoria was
fading in early action Thursday, with markets adopting a more cautious
tone before the opening bell.
Late Wednesday, President Obama
signed the so-called fiscal cliff bill, which will raise the top income
tax rate for families earning over $450,000 a year and allows for $12
billion in immediate spending cuts.
market action was also more subdued Thursday, with major benchmarks in
Europe struggling for direction. The Stoxx Europe 600 index, a broader
measure, moved 0.2% higher, while some regional bourses in Asia also
crept up in volatile trade.
Markets in Japan and mainland China were closed for holidays.
Friday, the U.S. Department of Labor will release its latest reading on
payrolls data, typically a market-moving piece of economic data.