Futures mixed after Obama's address
US markets are set for a flat open after the president speaks of a non-violent solution in Syria and Apple unveils new iPhone models.
By Laura Hoy
U.S. President Barack Obama addressed the country Tuesday night, saying he would pursue diplomatic options before launching any military strikes in Syria. Obama has agreed to work with Russia and the UN on a resolution that would pressure Syria to turn over its chemical weapons in order to avoid a military strike. This Russian-backed proposal, however, was met with skepticism, as many worry about stalling tactics.
In other news around the markets:
* The Bank of Japan's board member Koji Ishida said on Wednesday that exports will be a vital part of the country's recovery. He also argued in favor of the Japanese government's planned sales tax hike, saying it could increase consumption as it may boost confidence in Japan's economic outlook. He said the bank is willing to step in with policy changes if need be, but urged lawmakers not to overreact to a temporary dip due to the sales tax increase.
* The Greek Finance Ministry released data on Tuesday that showed the country was moving in the right direction and keeping up with the terms of its bailout. The data showed a primary surplus of 2.9 billion euros so far in 2013, compared to last year's 1.4 billion euro deficit. The figures surpassed the estimates in the country's bailout plan which forecast a 2.5 billion euro deficit.
* Immediately following Apple's (AAPL) announcement of its new, lower cost iPhone 5C, the company's share prices slipped 0.6% to $502.85. On Tuesday afternoon, shares had fallen below $500, a 3% drop. Suppliers' shares also slumped following the announcement because many worried that the new cheaper phone was still too expensive to reach key emerging markets. In premarket trade, shares of Apple sat just above $483, an 11.54% drop below Tuesday's close.
* Reuters reported that analysts are expecting the U.S. Federal Reserve will announce the beginning of its tapering plan at next week's policy meeting. Most see the bank cutting its asset purchases by $10 billion, down from previous estimates of a $15 billion reduction.
Asian markets were mixed on Wednesday. The Shanghai composite was up 0.15%, but the Shenzhen composite lost 0.50%. The KOSPI was up 0.49%, and Australia's ASX 200 was up 0.64%. The Hang Seng index was down 0.42%, and the Japanese NIKKEI was flat.
European markets were also mixed. The UK's FTSE was down 0.14%, and the STOXX 600 was mostly flat with just 0.04% gains. France's CAC 40 was down 0.20%, and Italy's MIB was up 0.92%.
Brent futures for October delivery rose 0.52%, while WTI futures slipped 0.13%. Gold gained 0.15%, and silver was up 0.36%. Copper was up 0.28%, but aluminum and tin lost 0.50% and 0.44% respectively.
The euro and the pound were steady against the dollar, and the yen continued to trade above the 100 yen to one dollar mark. The rupee gained 0.82% against the dollar, and the Australian dollar lost 0.20% against the greenback.
Earnings reported Tuesday
Notable companies that reported earnings on Tuesday included:
Restoration Hardware (RH) reported second quarter earnings per share of $0.49 on revenue of $382.10 million, compared to estimated earnings per share of $0.43 on revenue of $377.60 million.
Christopher & Banks Corporation (CBK) reported a second quarter loss of $0.01 per share on revenue of $104.20 million, compared to last year's loss of $0.06 per share on revenue of $103.44 million.
Stocks moving in the premarket included:
Omnicom Group (OMC) gained 1.03% in premarket trade as the company's merger with Publicis Groupe SA approaches. Most expect the deal to close in the last quarter of 2013 or the first quarter of 2014.
Morgan Stanley (MS) gained 0.57% in premarket trade after the firm's Finance Chief announced that company's buyout of Citigroup's stake in their joint venture will leave Morgan Stanley with large deposits which it plans to use for lending to corporate and retail clients.
Carnival (CCL) lost 0.86% in premarket trade as the company struggles to regain passenger confidence following the January 2012 grounding of a ship in Italy.
Apache (APA) lost 0.38% in premarket trade as a member of the company's board bought 10,000 of the company shares.
Notable companies expected to report earnings on Wednesday include:
Men's Wearhouse (MW) is expected to report earnings per share of $1.14 on revenue of $671.04 million, compared to last year's earnings per share of $1.15 on revenue of $662.30 million
Vera Bradley (VRA) is expected to report earnings per share of $0.32 on revenue of $124.81 million, compared to last year's earnings per share of $0.33 on revenue of $123.04 million.
On Wednesday's economic calendar, investors will be watching for U.S. crude oil and gasoline inventories, the British unemployment rate, French non-farm payrolls and current account data and German CPI.
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Stocks drift lower and bonds are hit as investors await the Fed. Prepare for higher volatility this week.
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