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Stocks headed down Futures sink, indicating a tough - or at least a volatile - Friday on Wall Street, as investors await housing market data.

 
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Stocks headed down Futures sink, indicating a tough - or at least a volatile - Friday on Wall Street, as investors await housing market data.
Stocks headed down
Futures sink, indicating a tough - or at least a volatile - Friday on Wall Street, as investors await housing market data.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Wall Street braced for a lower start Friday as investors resumed a cautious stance ahead of the latest economic readings.

S&P, Nasdaq and Dow Jones futures - which indicate how markets will perform - were lower about 90 minutes before the opening bell, indicating a possible selloff at the open. But the futures were off their lowest levels of the morning.

Peter Cardillo, analyst for Avalon Partners, said he expects a negative open, but stocks have potential for recovery later in the session, given the direction that futures are headed in.

"During the course of the day, we should expect more volatility, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Dow added to its gains," said Cardillo.

That follows a volatile Thursday, which ended with Dow surging 401 points, driven by the lowest oil prices in more than a year, after having plunged as much as 380 points earlier in the day.

Economy: All eyes will be on the hard-hit housing market at 8:30 a.m. ET, when the Commerce Department was expected to release its September reports for housing starts and building permits.

Housing starts were expected to plunge to an annual rate of 870,000 residential units, according to a consensus of economists provided by the Briefing.com. That compared to an 895,000-unit rate in the prior month.

Building permits, or permits that are taken out to allow construction, were expected to fall to 840,000 in September, according to the economist consensus from Briefing.com. That compared to 854,000 permits in August.

Companies: Honeywell (HON, Fortune 500), the maker of civil and military avionics and aerospace products, beat expectations when it reported quarterly earnings before the open. Earnings jumped about 20% to 97 cents per share from 81 cents a year earlier. A consensus of analyst opinion from Thomson FirstCall had expected 95 cents per share.

The online retailer overstock.com (OSTK) was also scheduled to release results before the open. Analysts expected a loss of 26 cents per share, according to a consensus of projections from Thomson FirstCall, compared with a loss of 20 cents a year earlier.

Markets, currency, oil: European markets were higher in midday trading, and the Nikkei closed about 2.8% higher. The dollar edged up against the euro and the British pound, but slipped against the yen. Oil prices rallied from their lows, climbing $1.06 a barrel to $70.91. To top of page

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