US futures head higher ahead of inventory data

Associated Press
FILE- In this  Tuesday, July 10, 2012, file photo, traders prepare for the start of early trading at the New York Stock Exchange.  (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)
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FILE- In this Tuesday, July 10, 2012, file photo, traders prepare for the start of early trading at the New York Stock Exchange. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock futures rose Wednesday ahead of government report that is expected to show that companies are ordering more goods, which would be good news for factories that produce them and for the economy as a whole.

The U.S. also reported Wednesday that the trade deficit fell to $48.7 billion in May from April, with exports on the rise despite a broadening global slowdown. The trade report came out on the same day that China posted a 9 percent increase in auto sales for June. U.S. automakers have moved aggressively into China in a global search for growth.

Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 26 points to 12,611. Standard & Poor's 500 futures added 2.2 points to 1,337.70 and Nasdaq futures rose 1.25 points to 2,579.25.

The trade deficit ties loosely into inventory levels for companies, though the rate of stockpiling has not been large enough to trim unemployment levels that have rattled consumer and business confidence this year.

Sales at the wholesale level rose 1.1 percent in April, sparking a 0.6 percent rise in inventories that likely continued into May. Economists expect sales at the wholesale level may have slipped 0.1 percent in May, however.

The Department of Commerce releases its report at 10 a.m. Eastern time.

Also on Wednesday, a day after winning European Union approval for a huge bank bailout, Spain imposed new sales tax hikes and spending cuts in a bid to slash nearly $80 billion from its budget over the next two and a half years. Spain is being squeezed by rapidly rising borrowing rates and unemployment that is closing in on 25 percent, and 50 percent among young people.

The economic situation is already leading to social strife, from street violence to strikes.

On Wednesday, thousands of miners hurt by large cuts in government subsidies marched through downtown Madrid.

Marriott International Inc. posts its second-quarter earnings after the market closes.

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