Futures flat on lack of economic data

Investors are shifting their focus back to monetary policy and what the likely timing of the Fed's tapering may be.

By Benzinga Sep 24, 2013 8:29AM
Image: Stock exchange (© John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images)By Laura Brodbeck

U.S. stock futures were little changed on Tuesday morning after Asian markets slipped overnight and Europe traded higher ahead of Wall Street's open. A lack of economic data has shifted investors' focus back to monetary policy.


New York Fed President William Dudley commented that the Fed's "taper" timeline was still in place, however he claimed the bank would like to see further improvement in the country's labor market before moving forward cutting back on its bond-buying program.


Uncertainty about the bank's timing caused Wall Street to stumble on Monday and contributed to softening Asian shares.


Despite harsh criticism about pricing, Apple (AAPL) sold 9 million phones last weekend during the debut of the iPhone 5S and 5C. The sales were well above analyst predictions, and the company announced that its quarterly sales and profit margin would likely exceed projections. That helped Apple shares jump 5% to $23.23.

The Chinese government is planning to allow access to websites like Facebook (FB) and Twitter in its planned free-trade zone in Shanghai. Reports on Tuesday said the government will allow social networking sites and others that it previously deemed inappropriate or politically sensitive in the FTZ, which will be launched on Sept. 29.

Fairfax Financial Holdings inked a preliminary deal with BlackBerry (BBRY) that will allow Fairfax to purchase 90% of BlackBerry's shares for $9 per share

After last month's Goldman Sachs (GS) computer glitch, the New York Stock Exchange together with the SEC is working to amend the rules to mitigate losses from computer glitches. When Goldman's computer system caused it to buy a large number of unwanted options contracts, most of the trades were canceled, and the losses to Goldman were minimal.

However, traders on the other side suffered. A new proposal would adjust mistaken trades rather than completely canceling them.

Asian markets

Asian stocks were down across the board on Tuesday. The Hang Seng index fell 0.75%, and China's Shanghai and Shenzhen composites lost 0.61% and 0.19%, respectively. Indonesia’s JSX composite suffered the largest losses, down 1.79%.


European markets

European markets were on the rise, the U.K.'s FTSE was up 0.24%, and the eurozone's STOXX 600 was up 0.26%. France's CAC 40 gained 0.50%, and the German DAX was up 0.39%.


Commodities


Brent futures were up 0.06%, WTI futures slipped 0.03%, gold lost 0.36% and silver was down 0.95%. Industrial metals were mixed, copper and tin lost 0.85% and 0.30%, respectively, but aluminum was up 0.97%.


Currencies


The euro gained 0.10% against the dollar, but the pound lost 0.08% against the greenback. The yen weakened by 0.28% against the dollar, and the Australian dollar lost 0.21% against the dollar.


Earnings

  • Red Hat (RHT) reported EPS of 35 cents on revenue of $374.00 million, compared to last year's EPS of 28 cents on revenue of $322.60 million.

Premarket movers

  • Bank of America (BAC) gained 0.07% after a losing streak that took the stock down 2.82% over the past five days.
  • Red Hat lost 7.99% after the company released a better-than- expected earnings report on Monday.
Economics

Tuesday's economic calendar will include U.S. consumer confidence, Canadian retail sales, British mortgage approvals, Italy's trade balance and the German business climate index.


More from Benzinga: 

Study hard with your Tuesday trades!


For a recap of Monday’s market action, click here.


Tune into Benzinga’s premarket info show with Dennis Dick and Joel Elconin here.


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