Stock futures little changed ahead of opening

FILE – In this Nov. 4, 2010 file photo, traders work from the floor to the New York Stock Exchange, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, file)

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock futures traded in a tight range Wednesday amid caution over ongoing debt worries in Europe and ahead of an upcoming meeting of world leaders.

Members of the Group of 20 will be meeting Thursday and Friday in South Korea as countries like the U.S. and Japan try to weaken their currency to help stimulate economic growth. A global economic recovery has been slow and many developed countries like the U.S. have struggled to expand at a pace that will cut high unemployment.

Major European indexes all slid as worries grow about debt problems in Ireland. The euro slipped below $1.38. Concerns about mounting government debt in many European countries have dragged down stocks around the world throughout the year. Countries like Ireland and Greece are facing rising debt with little signs of growth.

Gold prices dropped below $1,400 an ounce as the dollar strengthened. Oil prices also fell.

The dollar had been weakening against other currencies in recent weeks because of a recently announced program by the Federal Reserve to buy Treasury bonds in an effort to drive interest rates lower and spark spending and lending.

A weaker currency also makes a country’s exports cheaper and more attractive overseas. Japan has been especially active in trying to weaken its currency because its economy is so reliant on companies like Sony Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. that rely on exports.

Traders looking for signs of health in the domestic economy will get a report on first-time claims for unemployment benefits. Economists expect claims fell slightly last week, but still not to a level that indicates broad hiring and not enough to erase a big jump in claims a week earlier.

The report is coming out a day earlier than usual because government offices are closed Thursday for Veterans’ Day.

Ahead of the opening bell, Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 5, or less than 0.1 percent, to 11,318. Standard Poor’s 500 index futures rose 0.90, or 0.1 percent, to 1,211.80, while Nasdaq 100 index futures rose 0.50, or less than 0.1 percent, to 2,176.75.

Bond yields rose slightly, pushing interest rates higher. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.70 percent from 2.66 percent late Tuesday.

Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.4 percent, Germany’s DAX index dropped 0.3 percent, and France’s CAC-40 fell 0.5 percent.

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