Futures rise on budget deal hopes
Economic data and progress in fiscal negotiations will be the determining factors in Thursday's session.
U.S. equity futures rose in early Thursday trading on hopes that a budget deal can be reached in Washington. Now that both parties have submitted proposals, investors can assume that any deal will reflect both proposals.
In other news, S&P cut Greece to "selective default" from "CCC" after the close Wednesday, meaning Greece is now officially in default. The move is in response to the debt buyback deal.
The preliminary third quarter GDP estimate for the eurozone was released at -0.1% quarter-over-quarter, the same contraction as the second quarter and in line with economist estimates.
The U.K.'s AAA rating has come under fire over the last 24 hours, as English Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne made his annual autumn statement in which he outlined budget proposals that put off a bulk of austerity into later years. Fitch said that it will review the U.K.'s rating in 2013 and could downgrade it.
- S&P 500 futures rose 0.3 points to 1,408.60.
- The EUR/USD was slightly higher at 1.3072.
- Spanish 10-year government bond yields rose to 5.437%.
- Italian 10-year government bond yields rose to 4.493%.
- Gold fell 0.04% to $1,693.10 per ounce.
Commodities were mixed overnight with energy futures rising and metals falling. WTI crude futures rose 0.25% to $88.10 per barrel and Brent crude futures rose 0.17% to $109.00 per barrel. Copper futures fell 0.34% to $367.40 overnight, as investors feared that Freeport McMoRan's (FCX) two acquisitions in the energy exploration business are further signals of the peak of the mining boom. Gold was lower and silver futures fell 0.28% to $32.87 per ounce.
Currency markets were fairly quiet overnight as investors await the decisions from both the Bank of England and the European Central Bank Thursday morning. The EUR/USD was slightly higher at 1.3072 and the dollar fell against the yen. Overall, the Dollar Index rose 0.03% to 79.801 on strength against the Swiss franc and the Canadian dollar. Also, the Aussie dollar was rather strong overnight with the AUD/USD approaching the 1.05 level and the fell to 1.2469.
- 3M (MMM) shares rallied 1.56% premarket after rising 0.71% Wednesday. The stock is up 11% year to date.
- Microsoft (MSFT) shares rose 0.41% premarket after the company won a lawsuit against Motorola, now owned by Google (GOOG). (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.)
- Pandora Media (P) shares continued to slide following a guidance cut premarket, falling an addition 4.74% Thursday morning.
- Zynga (ZNGA) shares rose 0.43% premarket as the company is seeking a gambling license in Nevada.
- H&R Block (HRB) is expected to report a second quarter loss of $0.40 per share vs. a loss of $0.38 a year ago.
- Lululemon Athletica (LULU) is expected to report third quarter earnings per share of $0.37 vs. $0.27 a year ago.
- Smith & Wesson (SWHC) is expected to report second quarter earnings per share of $0.24 vs. $0.10 a year ago.
On the economics calendar Thursday, jobless claims are due out. In addition, Challenger job cuts are due out and the quarterly services survey will add further clarity on the state of the service sector. In addition, the Bank of England and the European Central Bank rate decisions are due out , followed by ECB President Mario Draghi's press conference at 8:30 a.m. ET.
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