Futures rise heading into the weekend
US markets are set to open on a higher note ahead of consumer sentiment data.
U.S. equity futures rose slightly in early premarket trade heading into the weekend after a week marked by small moves in equities in both directions. Stocks look set to test all-time highs again in Friday's session if futures can hold gains into the open.
In other news, the European Union reported EU auto sales rose 1.8% in April, the first monthly gain in over 18 months.
Japanese Machine Orders rose a whopping 14.2% in March, much better than the 3.2% expected gain. However, the data is extremely volatile and may not be a clear sign that stimulus policies are working just yet.
San Francisco Federal Reserve President John Williams, a non-voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee this year, spoke Thursday saying that it may already be time for the Fed to begin tapering its bond purchases. Other Fed officials hinted they may first slow purchases of mortgage backed securities to prevent a new housing bubble.
S&P 500 futures rose 4.4 points to 1,652.50.
The EUR/USD was flat at 1.2882.
Spanish 10-year government bond yields fell 2 basis points to 4.29%.
Italian 10-year government bond yields fell 1 basis point to 3.97%.
Gold fell 0.92% to $1,374.10 per ounce.
Asian shares were mostly higher overnight following the Japanese data. The Japanese Nikkei Index rose 0.67% and the Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.38% while the Hang Seng Index rose 0.17%. Also, the Korean Kospi gained 0.79% and Australian shares added 0.29%.
European shares were mixed with moves remaining tepid after the auto sales data. The Spanish Ibex Index rose 0.08% and the Italian FTSE MIB Index added 0.17%. Meanwhile, the German DAX fell 0.08% and the French CAC 40 rose 0.15% while U.K. shares added 0.11%.
Commodities were mixed overnight with most metals continuing losses following the recent dollar strength. WTI crude futures fell 0.09% to $95.07 per barrel and Brent crude futures rose 0.12% to $103.80 per barrel. Copper futures rose 0.55% to $331.25, reversing two days of strong losses. Gold was lower and silver futures declined 1.01% to $22.43 per ounce.
Currency markets were on the move as the dollar was erasing some earlier gains heading into the U.S. session but still remained stronger against most partners. The EUR/USD was flat at 1.2882 and the dollar rose against the yen to 102.36. Overall, the Dollar Index gained 0.33% on strength against the Canadian dollar, the pound, and the yen.
Earnings reported Thursday
Key companies that reported earnings Thursday include:
Autodesk (ADSK) reported first quarter earnings per share of $0.42 vs. $0.45 expected on revenue of $570.4 million vs. $583.4 million expected.
Dell (DELL) reported first quarter earnings per share of $0.21 vs. $0.35 expected on revenue of $14.1 billion vs. $13.52 billion expected.
J.C. Penney (JCP) reported a first quarter loss of $1.31 per share vs. a loss of $0.86 per share expected on revenue of $2.63 billion vs. $2.7 billion expected.
Nordstrom (JWN) reported first quarter earnings per share of $0.73 vs. $0.76 on revenue of $2.75 billion vs. $2.8 billion expected.
Kohl's (KSS) reported first quarter earnings per share of $0.66 vs. $0.58 on revenue of $4.2 billion vs. $4.29 billion expected.
Sina (SINA) reported first quarter earnings per share of $0.02 vs. an expected loss of $0.03 per share on revenue of $121.3 million.
Wal-Mart (WMT) reported first quarter earnings per share of $1.14 vs. $1.15 on revenue of $114.19 billion vs. $116.42 billion but said that trends in the first half of May saw a marked improvement over the first four months of the year.
Stocks moving in the premarket included:
J.C. Penney (JCP) shares declined 3.03% premarket following the weaker than expected earnings report.
Autodesk (ADSK) shares declined 6.23% premarket following its weaker than expected earnings.
Nordstrom (JWN) shares declined 3.32% premarket on its weaker than expected earnings even though the company affirmed Q2 guidance.
United States Steel (X) shares rose 1.01% premarket as CEO John Surma said the company is divesting unprofitable businesses to focus on key business lines to return to profitability.
Notable companies expected to report earnings Friday include:
Donaldson Company (DCI) is expected to report third quarter earnings per share of $0.49 vs. $0.46 a year ago.
Stage Stores (SSI) is expected to report first quarter earnings per share of $0.09 vs. $0.05 a year ago.
On the economics calendar Friday, consumer sentiment and leading indicators are due out followed by the ECRI weekly index. Also, the Fed's Naryana Kocherlakota is set to speak. Over the weekend, Fed Chief Ben Bernanke is speaking on Saturday and could talk about Fed tapering.
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