US Stocks set to Open Higher after Wednesday Drop

NEW YORK - Wall Street appeared headed for a mild rebound Thursday after its steep dive in the previous session, but investors remained anxious ahead of data expected to suggest that the economy is in a recession.

Investors also were reviewing Citigroup Inc. third-quarter results. The bank posted its fourth straight quarterly loss due to credit-related troubles and cut another 11,000 jobs. The company said it lost $2.8 billion, in the third quarter compared with a profit of $2.2 billion a year earlier. The loss was narrower than Wall Street had expected.

Merrill Lynch & Co., which recently agreed to be acquired by Citigroup Inc. rival Bank of America Corp., early Thursday posted a net loss of $5.1 billion.

After Wednesday's dismal consumer spending report, which contributed to a 733-point plunge in the Dow Jones industrial average, investors are bracing for more troubling news. The Federal Reserve is expected to report that industrial production dropped in September, while the Labor Department is anticipated to report another uptick in consumer prices and only a slight decline in applications for unemployment benefits.

Ahead of the market's open, Dow futures rose 99, or 1.16 percent, to 8,603. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures rose 11.50, or 1.27 percent, to 914.80, and Nasdaq 100 index futures rose 15.00, or 1.22 percent, to 1,244.00.

In Asian trading, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index lost 4.8 percent, and Japan's Nikkei index dropped 11.41 percent, following the pattern of trading in the U.S. In afternoon trading in Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 fell 2.53 percent, Germany's DAX index fell 1.84 percent, and France's CAC-40 fell 3.48 percent.

Trading is apt to remain volatile after the Dow's 936-point rally Monday and its massive loss Wednesday. The violent swings have followed the index's worst week ever, during which Wall Street shed about $2.4 trillion in shareholder wealth.

While the credit markets are performing better than they were last week given several unprecedented actions by governments around the world — including the decision to buy stakes in private banks — they are hardly operating normally.

Treasury bills, considered the safest assets around, remained in high demand. The three-month Treasury bill on Thursday was yielding 0.23 percent, only modestly higher than 0.20 percent on Wednesday.

The dollar was mixed against other major currencies.

Light, sweet crude for November delivery fell $1.54 to $73 a barrel in premarket electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Wednesday, crude dropped $4.09 to settle at $74.54, the lowest closing level since Aug. 31, 2007.