Futures rise after Australian employment, ECB Report
Stocks are set for a higher open as investors await US weekly jobless claims and producer prices reports.
U.S. equity futures were slightly higher in early premarket trade following stronger than expected Australian employment data and dovish comments from the European Central Bank in its monthly bulletin. The ECB sees the eurozone economy stabilizing in 2013 with growth returning this year. It also sees inflation remaining tepid with downside risks remaining.
In other news, Australian employment change for February shocked traders last night as payrolls grew by 71,500 in February, handily beating expectations of a gain of just 10,000 jobs, a beat of an astounding 9.6 standard deviations.
The Swiss National Bank kept rates on hold effectively at zero and re-committed to buy unlimited amounts of currency to keep the franc weak to boost exports.
All three of the new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Bank of Japan nominees were approved by the Japanese lower house, as expected. The three will now face confirmation hearings in the upper house late Thursday which should be much tougher since Abe has a smaller majority in the upper house.
- S&P 500 futures rose 3.2 points to 1,552.90.
- The EUR/USD was lower at 1.2948.
- Spanish 10-year government bond yields rose to 4.82% from 4.76%.
- Italian 10-year government bond yields fell to 4.67% from 4.68%.
- Gold fell 0.2% to $1,584.70 per ounce.
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Asian shares were mostly higher overnight boosted by the astounding Australian employment figures, although Australian shares actually fell on continuous cautious comments from Reserve Bank of Australia members. The Japanese Nikkei Index rose 1.16% as Abe's BoJ nominees passed the lower house's nomination process and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.28% while the Hang Seng Index rose 0.28% as well. Also, the Korean Kospi rose 0.12% and Australian shares declined 1.18%.
European shares were mostly higher in early trade following the dovish comments from the ECB and also on stronger than expected Spanish retail sales data. The Spanish Ibex Index rose 1.04% and the Italian FTSE MIB Index rose 1.17%. Meanwhile, the German DAX rose 0.73% while the French CAC gained 0.66% and U.K. shares added 0.22%.
Commodities were mixed overnight as oil futures rose and precious metals slipped. WTI crude futures rose 0.17% to $92.68 per barrel and Brent crude futures rose 0.15% to $108.70 per barrel. Copper futures rose 0.33% to $353.65 per pound following the strong Australian data. Gold was lower and silver futures declined 0.55% to $28.80 per ounce.
Currency markets were on the move overnight kick-started by the Australian employment data as the Aussie dollar strengthened and the yen fell. The EUR/USD was lower at 1.2948 and the dollar rose against the yen to 96.36. Overall, the Dollar Index rose 0.1% on strength against the euro, the yen, and the Swiss franc. Notably, the Australian dollar rose 0.46% against the greenback to 1.0345 and rose 0.72% against the yen to 99.6980, but failed to break through the key 100 level.
Stocks moving in the premarket included:
- Best Buy (BBY) shares rose 0.62% premarket after Goldman Sachs made positive comments on the stock.
- Men's Warehouse (MW) shares rose 13.35% premarket after the company reported better than expected earnings and increased its buyback.
- Google (GOOG) shares rose 0.24% premarket after announcing that it will shut down its Google Reader product in July.
- General Motors (GM) shares fell 0.96% premarket on reports that a recall may need to be expanded by an additional 1 million vehicles.
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Notable companies expected to report earnings Thursday include:
- Affymax (AFFY) is expected to report a fourth quarter loss of $0.61 per share vs. a loss of $0.88 per share a year ago.
- Aeropostale (ARO) is expected to report fourth quarter earnings per share of $0.22 vs. $0.44 a year ago.
- Buckle (BKE) is expected to report fourth quarter earnings per share of $1.25 vs. $1.18 a year ago.
- Diana Shipping (DSX) is expected to report fourth quarter earnings per share of $0.09 vs. $0.25 a year ago.
- Molycorp (MCP) is expected to report a fourth quarter loss of $0.31 per share vs. earnings per share of $0.41 a year ago.
- Zumiez (ZUMZ) is expected to report fourth quarter earnings per share of $0.73 vs. $0.60 a year ago.
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On the economics calendar Thursday, weekly jobless claims and producer prices are due out as well as the current account. Later, the Treasury is set to auction 30-year bonds. Overnight, eurozone inflation data is due out and results from the Bank of Japan confirmation hearings should trickle out.
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Are you kidding me? So now the DOW rises because of employment in Australia? When does this nonsence stop? Those in control of this market will use any excuse to defend their manipulation efforts in keeping the market going up. Why is it that the majority of people know this is a market built on Hype, Hope and a large dose of government intervention and yet the market is still climbing. This is nothing short of a criminal activity and it is time to overhalul Wall St and get rid of the scumbags that are controlling it.
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The solid report comes a month after the retailer closed all of its Canadian operations.
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