Updated March 23 at 7:53pm

Stock-index futures decline on concern over global economy


NEW YORK - U.S. stock futures dropped, indicating the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index will fall for a sixth day, amid concern the global economy is weakening.

Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. slipped more than 0.9 percent as European lenders tumbled. Supervalu Inc., the third-largest U.S. grocery chain, sank 28 percent after saying it will review strategic alternatives for the business and suspended its dividend. Marriott International Inc., the biggest publicly traded U.S. hotel chain, slipped 3.8 percent after cutting its forecast for growth in revenue per available room outside North America.

S&P 500 futures expiring in September slid 0.7 percent to 1,326.4 at 8:08 a.m. in New York. The benchmark gauge retreated 2.4 percent over the past five days. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures declined 82 points, or 0.7 percent, to 12,454.

“U.S. demand is not strong enough to push stocks higher on its own and markets need a helping hand from things improving in Europe or Asia or a monetary-policy boost,” said Mikkel Kirkegaard Petersen, a senior equity adviser at Nordea Private Bank in Copenhagen.

The S&P 500 closed little changed yesterday as investors sifted through minutes of last month’s Federal Reserve meeting for hints of additional stimulus. The Federal Open Market Committee’s June 19-20 meeting debated the need for further stimulus measures, the minutes showed. Two participants supported additional bond purchases, while two others said only a further deterioration in the economy would warrant them.

Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. told CNBC that economic growth in the U.S. is slowing even as the housing market shows signs of rebounding.

“The general economy in the United States has been more or less flat, and so the growth has tempered down,” he said today in an interview with the television station from Sun Valley, Idaho. Buffett’s remarks contrast with his comment a year ago to Bloomberg Television’s Betty Liu in Sun Valley that the economy and jobs will “come back big time” when residential construction recovers. U.S. unemployment has exceeded 8 percent for more than three years.

An Australian report today showed the country’s employers cut payrolls by 27,000 workers in June, whereas economists in a Bloomberg survey had forecast no change. The Bank of Japan altered its stimulus program today, without adding extra money. The bank expanded its asset-purchase fund to 45 trillion yen ($564 billion) from 40 trillion yen, while paring a loan program by 5 trillion yen. In Seoul, the Bank of Korea unexpectedly cut its key interest rate.

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