Europe keeps a lid on stock futures
US shares are nearly flat as Cyprus banks reopen and investors await a final GDP report.
U.S. equity futures were lower in early premarket trade before steadying on European fears as Cyprus reopens its banks for the first time since a week ago Monday. The government has put in place harsh capital controls for a minimum of two weeks, effectively making a euro in Cyprus worth less than a euro anywhere else in the eurozone.
In other news, German retail sales in February rose faster than expected, gaining 0.4% vs. an expected decline of 1%. However, sales rose slower than the 3.1% rate in January.
Chinese Industrial Profits in March rose 17.7% from a year ago, better than the previous figure of a gain of 5.5%.
Moody's affirmed both Ireland's and Portugal's credit ratings, and left the nations on credit watch negative as they continue to escape the debt crisis.
- S&P 500 futures rose 1.5 points to 1,558.
- The EUR/USD was lower at 1.2771.
- Spanish 10-year government bond yields rose 7 basis points to 5.15%.
- Italian 10-year government bond yields rose 6 basis points to 4.83%.
- Gold fell 0.09% to $1,605.30.
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Asian shares were lower overnight led by Chinese stocks as global growth fears reigned. The Japanese Nikkei Index fell 1.26%, the Shanghai Composite Index declined 2.82% and the Hang Seng Index fell 0.74%. Also, the Korean Kospi was flat, and Australian shares fell 0.57%.
European shares were lower overnight as Cyprus prepared to open its banks and allow depositors to begin to withdraw money. The Spanish Ibex Index fell fell 1.11%, and the Italian FTSE MIB Index fell 0.27% as Italy was unable to form a government. Meanwhile, the German DAX fell 0.11%, the French CAC declined 0.36% and U.K. shares slid 0.05%.
Commodities were mixed overnight ahead of the key U.S. GDP data as global growth fears weighed on prices. WTI crude futures were flat at $96.56 per barrel, and Brent crude futures fell 0.13% to $109.52 per barrel. Copper futures declined 0.38% to $343.15 per pound. Gold was lower, and silver futures rose 0.17% to $28.68 per ounce.
Currency markets were in a clear risk-off mode overnight as the yen gained and the euro slid. The EUR/USD was lower at 1.2771, and the dollar fell against the yen by 0.46% to 94.03. Overall, the Dollar Index rose 0.04% on strength against the euro, the Canadian dollar and the Swedish krone. Notably, the Australian dollar was rather weak and most yen crosses declined sharply.
Stocks moving in the premarket included:
- Morgan Stanley (MS) shares fell 1.3% as Credit Suisse (CS) purchased its European private wealth operations.
- United States Steel (X) shares fell 0.86% as metal futures slid and as the company bought back $400 million of senior convertible notes.
- Red Hat (RHT) shares declined 3.74% as the company reported better-than-expected earnings but lowered guidance.
- PVH (PVH) shares declined 4.51% as the company reported weak earnings and lowered guidance.
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Notable companies expected to report earnings Thursday include:
- BlackBerry (BBRY) is expected to report a fourth-quarter loss of 30 cents per share vs. EPS of 22 cents a year ago.
- The Finish Line (FINL) is expected to report fourth-quarter EPS of 75 cents vs. 81 cents a year ago.
- Gamestop (GME) is expected to report fourth-quarter EPS of $2.09 vs. $1.73 a year ago.
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On the economics calendar Thursday, the final revision to U.S. fourth-quarter GDP is due out as well as weekly jobless claims and the PCE Inflation Index. Also, the Chicago PMI and the Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index are due out. In addition, the Treasury is set to auction 7-year notes. Overnight, Korean and Japanese industrial production are due out, however U.S. markets will be closed on Friday.
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More bull fervor in Europe, Toda, as Germany loosened-up by a few billion Euro! But, the economies of the Mediterraneans could result in "a bottomless-pit", The Germans will not be able to fill.
~ Once, a couple years ago, I read an article, that the Greek workers were the most productive in EU.
~ How do Europeans measure productivity?
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The solid report comes a month after the retailer closed all of its Canadian operations.
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