Dow Slightly lower

Dow Jones industrial average, Standard &; Poor’s 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures were slightly lower on Wednesday morning, losing their earlier gains after the release of two job reports.

Futures measure current index values against perceived future performance and offer an indication of how markets may open when trading begins in New York.

A rally on Wall Street helped the blue-chip Dow post its second straight gain of more than 100 points on Tuesday. Stocks have gained recently amid solid earnings and signs of stabilization in the economy.

"Yesterday, we saw triple digit increases in the market," said Derek Hoffman, chief executive of Wall St. Cheat Sheet. "I’d say that’s attributable to positive earnings reports."

Before the release of the job reports, Hoffman said the gains in futures were being buoyed by strong earnings from Time Warner and News Corp., as well as strong sales from Ford Motor Co. [Read the full article]

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What prices are doing: Crude oil for March delivery rose 19 cents, to $77.42 a barrel, extending Tuesday’s gains.

What’s driving prices: The Energy Information Administration will release its weekly crude inventory report Wednesday morning.

Analysts expect supplies to drop by 1 million barrels, gasoline stocks to increase by 1.5 million barrels and distillates to fall by 1.2 million barrels, according to a survey conducted by research firm Platts.

The dollar also extended losses versus the euro Wednesday, bolstering the appeal of commodities, which is traded in dollars.

Crude has gained additional support from the recent rally on Wall Street, said Phil Flynn, a senior market analyst at PFG Best.

"Economic optimism seems to be driving prices lately, so as the stock market rallies oil will tag along for the ride," he said.

What analysts are saying: "Despite the recent pop in prices, I think oil still has more to go on the downside," said Flynn. [Read the full article]

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