Futures higher on Syria strike delay
US markets are poised to rise at the open on growing signs the Western military action is no longer imminent.
There was some relief in global markets Thursday on signs the military strikes in Syria may get delayed. The U.S. is facing opposition after President Barack Obama said the U.S. would act to punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for his involvement in a chemical weapons strike.
It is not likely that the Obama administration will act without the support of the UN. In the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron has scaled back his support of the U.S. initiative and will convene the House of Commons later Thursday to discuss the matter.
In other news around the markets:
Vodafone (VOD) confirmed it is in talks with Verizon (VZ) to sell its stake in their joint venture, Verizon Wireless, for about $100 billion, although according to rumors the figure could be as high as $130 billion.
The Indian rupee bounced back a bit after the Reserve Bank of India stepped in and provided dollars directly to oil companies. Although the move helped provide relief to the currency, the rupee's recovery won't be sustained unless the government does more to tackle the nation's slowing growth and current account deficit.
China's foreign minister called for a political resolution in Syria and warned that military intervention would only stir up chaos in the Middle East.
New Zealand's business confidence fell to 48.1 from 52.8. Despite the fall, many remain positive about the country's progress.
The signs of delay in the expected military strikes in Syria, Asian markets saw some improvement on Thursday. The South Korean KOSPI index was up 1.22% after current account data showed a growing surplus. The Hang Seng index gained 0.85% and the Japanese NIKKEI index was up 0.91%. China's mainland indices were down -- the Shanghai composite lost 0.19%, and the Shenzhen composite fell 0.24%.
European markets were up across the board Thursday morning. The UK's FTSE was up 0.60%, led by Vodafone's gains amid rumors of a buyout of its stake in Verizon Wireless. The eurozone's STOXX 600 gained 0.58%, the German DAX was up 0.36% and Italy's FTSE MIB was up 0.47%.
Energy futures took a step back after the threat of military action in Syria became less certain. Brent futures fell 1.33% and WTI futures were down 1.22%. Gold lost 0.87% and silver was down 1.86%. The story was the same for industrial metals; copper shed 0.26% and aluminum was down 1.17%.
Despite the BOE's Mark Carney's best efforts to convince investors that the bank was going to do more to boost lending, the pound declined against the dollar by 0.07%. The euro also lost 0.55% against the dollar and even the yen was down 0.51% against the greenback. The Reserve Bank of India's efforts boosted the rupee by 1.77% against the dollar.
Earnings reported Wednesday
Notable companies that reported earnings on Wednesday included:
Joy Global (JOY) reported third quarter earnings per share of $1.70 on revenue of $1.18 billion, compared to last year's earnings per share of $1.82 on revenue of $1.39 billion.
Zale Corporation (ZLC) reported a fourth quarter loss of $0.25 per share on revenue of $417.00 million, compared to last year's loss of $0.61 per share on revenue of $406.96 million.
Williams-Sonoma (WSM) reported second quarter earnings per share of $0.49 on revenue of $982.99 million, compared to last year's earnings per share of $0.43 on revenue of $874.28 million.
Stocks moving in the premarket included:
Verizon Communications (VZ) gained 1.48% in premarket trade after Vodafone confirmed talks about a buyout of Vodafone's stake in Verizon Wireless.
Newmont Mining (NEM) lost 0.93% in premarket trade as gold prices slid.
McDonald's (MCD) was up 0.45% in premarket trade ahead of the launch of a new French fry burger is due out on Sunday.
Coca-Cola (KO) was up 0.52% Thursday morning ahead of the market's opening despite gay activist groups' protest against the company's sponsorship of the 2014 Olympic Games in Russia.
Notable companies expected to report earnings on Thursday include:
Campbell Soup (CPB) is expected to report fourth quarter earnings per share of $0.42 on revenue of $1.83 billion, compared to last year's earnings per share of $0.41 on revenue of $1.61 billion.
Toronto Dominion Bank (TD) is expected to report third quarter earnings per share of $1.71 on revenue of $6.31 billion, compared to last year's earnings per share of $1.91 on revenue of $5.84 billion.
Royal Bank of Canada (RY) is expected to announce third quarter earnings per share of $1.38 on revenue of $7.93 billion, compared to last year's earnings per share of $1.31.
Thursday is a big day for economic releases. From Europe, investors will be expecting Spanish GDP, German unemployment and CPI data, Italian consumer and business confidence data and British Consumer Confidence data. The U.S. will also release GDP data and Canada will put out its current account data.
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