Futures Trade Mixed After Trade Deficit News

Stock index futures continued to trade mixed Wednesday after news the nation's trade deficit widened more than expected in March to the biggest gap in since last June.

The U.S. trade deficit widenedto $48.1 billion in March from $45.44 billion in February, the government reported. In June 2010, the trade gap was $49.94 billion. Analysts surveyed by Reuters had expected the gap to widen to $47 billion.

Exports surged 4.6 percent to $172.7 billion, but imports grew 4.9 percent to $220.8 billion, thanks to rising oil prices.

In corporate news, AIG and the Treasury scaled back their plans for a share sale, and will now offer$9 billion in AIG stock.

Macy's soared after reporting fiscal first-quarter earnings that topped analysts' estimates. The department store retailer also raised its fiscal 2011 earnings forecast and its dividend.

Toyota traded flat after reporting operating profit fell 52 percent and saying output troubles clouded its outlook.

And Walt Disney slumped after delivering disappointing resultsafter the market closed on Tuesday. The entertainment company's amusement parks were hurt by the disasters in Japan, and the poor performance of "Mars Needs Moms."

Johnson & Johnson gained after Goldman Sachs upgraded the pharmaceutical company to "buy" from "neutral," and downgraded Bristol Myers Squibb to "neutral." The brokerage said it now considers Johnson & Johnson the "best underappreciated new product story in US Pharma."

And Intel gained after the tech firm said it would raise its cash dividend by 16 percent to 21 cents a share.

Oil prices fell on news the economy is cooling in China, while gold and silverinched higher. Crude inventories data will be released at 10:30 a.m.

The Treasury will auction $24 billion in 10-year notes with the results expected after 1 p.m. Investor Jim Rogers told Reuters late Tuesday that he may start shorting Treasurys soon.

Also on the economic front, the Mortgage Bankers Association'sseasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity rose 8.2 percent in the week ended May 6, driven by a drop in interest rates.

China's inflation eased in April as its economy slowed down. That should limit the country's need for monetary tightening. In Europe, the Bank of England raised its medium-term inflation forecast.

On the Calendar This Week:

WEDNESDAY: Oil inventories, Atlanta Fed president speaks, 10-year Treasury note auction, Cleveland Fed president speaks, Minneapolis Fed president speaks, Treasury budget, AIG IPO roadshow, Comcast shareholder meeting, Senate judiciary hearing on AT&T merger; earnings from Cisco and Symantec after-the-bell.
THURSDAY: PPI, retail sales, jobless claims, business inventories, 30-year Treasury bond auction, money supply, NPD video game sales, Ford shareholder meeting, options industry conference; earnings from Kohl's and Macy's before-the-bell, and Nordstrom after-the-bell.
FRIDAY: CPI, consumer sentiment, Transocean shareholder meeting; earnings from Petrobras after-the-bell.

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