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Premarket: Manulife readies for loss Add to ...

North American stocks looked ready to pick themselves up from the dirt on Tuesday morning, a day after steep losses put a stake through the heart of last week's remarkable rally.

U.S. stock index futures were up with about an hour before markets open, suggesting that stocks will rise at the start of trading. Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average rose 94 points, to 8262. Futures for the broader S&P 500 rose 12 points, to 828.

In Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 0.3 per cent and Germany's DAX index rose 1.4 per cent in afternoon trading. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 6.4 per cent in overnight trading.

General Electric Co. updated its earnings forecast, saying that profit at GE Capital will fall to $8-billion (U.S.) in 2008, and then to $5-billion next year - less than forecast previously. However, overall profit at the conglomerate should come in at about $9-billion - after excluding some charges at the financial unit - which is in line with an earlier forecast. As well, the company's chief financial officer reiterated the goal of maintaining GE's $1.24 dividend in 2009, a point of contention with investors given that the yield sits at absurdly high level of 8 per cent. GE shares rose 50 cents, to $16, in premarket activity.

In Canada, investors will be paying close attention to Rogers Communications Inc. after Ted Rogers, the founder and chief executive officer, passed away at age 75. Alan Horn, chairman of Rogers, will serve as acting chief executive officer until a replacement is found. The last time Mr. Rogers' health was under scrutiny, Rogers shares rallied.

Meanwhile, Manulife Financial Corp. said it expects to report its first quarterly loss as a publicly traded company and plans to sell more than $2-billion (Canadian) worth of new shares to improve its balance sheet. The insurance giant expects a loss of $1.5-billion.


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