Futures rise on Syria action delay, M&A deals
US markets are set for a higher open as investors return from the Labor Day long weekend to assess the possible military strike against Syria and 2 acquisitions.
U.S. stock futures were higher Tuesday morning as the potential military action is delayed by President Barack Obama seeking authorization from Congress. Also adding to optimism are two high profile telecommunication deals.
President Obama called on Congress Monday to authorize military action against Syria. The White House has been working to rally support for a military strike as the Syrian government braces for an attack by evacuating military bases and the surrounding areas.
In other news, after almost 10 years of negotiation, Verizon (VZ) agreed to buy Vodafone's (VOD) stake in Verizon Wireless, their U.S. joint venture, for $130 billion. The purchase will be the third largest deal ever and could generate more than $500 million in fees.
Microsoft (MSFT) announced that it will buy Nokia's (NOK) handset business for $7.2 billion. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014. (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.)
The Reserve Bank of Australia kept interest rates fixed at 2.5% and released a statement saying the bank is willing to adjust fiscal policy as needed to help promote sustainable growth. The bank also said the country's economic growth has been below trend this year and is expected to continue at that pace in the near term.
The Japanese government has pledged to invest $473 million to contain the leak of radioactive water at the Fukushima nuclear plant.
Asian markets were up across the board on Tuesday following strong manufacturing data. The Japanese Nikkei was up 2.79%, helped by a weakening yen. China's Shanghai and Shenzhen composites were up 0.91% and 1.40% respectively. The Hang Seng index was up 1.18%, and the South Korean Kospi was up 0.32%.
European markets were mixed on Tuesday. The German DAX fell 0.31%, and the Spanish IBEX was up 0.28%. The UK's FTSE and the STOXX 600 both had relatively small gains.
Energy futures slipped as concerns about military action in Syria eased on Tuesday. Brent futures were down 0.13%, and WTI futures were down 0.85%. Gold lost 0.27%, but Silver gained 2.62%. Industrial metals were up across the board with copper up $1.86% and aluminum 0.85%.
The euro continued to lose ground, falling 0.14% against the dollar after weak eurozone unemployment figures cast doubt on the region's recovery. The yen also slipped against the greenback as it approached the 100 yen to a dollar mark and fell 0.26%. The pound to dollar ratio was mostly flat.
Earnings reported fRIday
Notable companies that reported earnings on Friday included:
Frontline (FRO) reported a second quarter loss of $0.50 per share, compared to last year's loss of $0.21 per share.
Big lots (BIG) reported second quarter earnings per share of $0.31 on revenue of 1.23 billion, compared to last year's earnings per share of $0.36 on revenue of $1.22 billion.
Stocks moving in the premarket included:
Citigroup (C) gained 2.42% in premarket trade after The Wall Street Journal reported that the company had sold more than $6 billion worth of private equity and hedge fund assets last month.
Alcoa (AA) was up 1.69% ahead of the market after reports that the company had broken ground on its Tennessee expansion.
Schlumberger (SLB) gained 1.30% in premarket trade after the company traded ex-dividend for its $0.3125 quarterly dividend on Monday.
Notable companies expected to report earnings on Tuesday include:
H&R Block (HRB) is expected to report a first quarter loss of $0.37 per share on revenue of $98.4 million, compared to last year's loss of $0.38 per share on revenue of $96.49 million.
On Tuesday's economic calendar investors are expecting Spanish business confidence data, British construction PMI, U.S. manufacturing PMI, Australian GDP and Chinese services PMI data.
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As geopolitical tensions threaten to spin out of control, investors are wondering how best to position their portfolios for the global turmoil.
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