Futures rise as investors look past Cyprus
Stocks are set for a higher open as attention shifts to the Fed and the much anticipated policy statement.
U.S. equity futures rose in early premarket trade despite the turmoil in Cyprus as lawmakers rejected a bank levy needed for the bailout. Blackrock (BLK) CEO Larry Fink said that Cyprus was a non-event and that he sees a 20% upside for stocks once this all blows over.
In other news, U.K. employment fell less than expected in February, with the total claimant count falling 1,500 jobs, well below expectations of a 5,000 drop. Average weekly earnings rose 1.2% and the unemployment rate was in line at 7.8%.
German producer prices fell 0.1% in February on expectations of a 0.2% rise, putting pressure on the ECB to act to counter deflationary pressures.
Analysts at Merrill Lynch cut the 2013 growth forecast for China to 8% from 8.1%. The cut was based on expected further weakness in the first half of the year as first quarter growth forecasts were cut from 8.1% to 7.9% and second quarter growth forecasts were cut to 8.1% from 8.3%.
S&P 500 futures rose 5 points to 1,546.50.
The EUR/USD was higher at 1.2916 after making a new 2013 low Tuesday.
Spanish 10-year government bond yields fell to 5.01% from 5.04%.
Italian 10-year government bond yields fell to 4.68% from 4.74%.
Gold fell 0.12% to $1,609.30 per ounce.
Asian shares were mixed overnight in thin trade as Japanese markets were closed for a domestic holiday. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 2.66% while the CSI 30 Index, the index of the 30 largest Chinese companies, rose 3.37%, and the Hang Seng Index gained 0.97%. Also, the Korean Kospi fell 0.97% and Australian shares declined 0.4%.
European shares were higher for the first day this week on relaxed fears over Cyprus as it appears that Russia might extend the nation a larger loan to prevent the bank levy tax from being implemented. The Spanish Ibex Index rose 0.6% and the Italian FTSE MIB Index rose 0.5%. Meanwhile, the German DAX rose 0.6% and the French CAC gained 0.74% while U.K. shares added 0.36%.
Commodities were mixed overnight as energy futures reversed Tuesday's losses. WTI crude futures rose 0.38% to $92.50 per barrel and Brent crude futures gained 0.38% to $107.82 per barrel. Copper futures gained 0.9% on Chinese strength. Gold was lower and silver futures rose 0.21% to $28.91 per ounce.
Currency markets were in clear risk-on mode as the euro and the pound gained and the yen weakened. The EUR/USD was higher at 1.2916 and the dollar rose against the yen to 95.31. Overall, the Dollar Index fell 0.2% on weakness against the euro, the pound, and the Canadian dollar.
Stocks moving in the premarket included:
Williams-Sonoma (WSM) shares gained 5.93% premarket after the company reported earnings and boosted its dividend 41%, offsetting weaker than expected same-store sales.
Francesca's Holdings (FRAN) shares rose 4.34% after the company reported better than expected earnings.
Adobe (ADBE) shares rose 6.01% after the company reported better than expected earnings and reiterated guidance.
Apple (AAPL) shares rose 0.49% premarket as the company is rumored to have poached Adobe's chief technology officer and also on hopes of an announcement of an increased dividend due within the next few days.
Notable companies expected to report earnings Wednesday include:
FedEx (FDX) is expected to report third quarter earnings per share of $1.39 vs. $1.55 a year ago.
General Mills (GIS) is expected to report third quarter earnings per share of $0.57 vs. $0.55 a year ago.
Jabil Circuit (JBL) is expected to report second quarter earnings per share of $0.54 vs. $0.58 a year ago.
Lennar (LEN) is expected to report first quarter earnings per share of $0.16 vs. $0.08 a year ago.
Oracle (ORCL) is expected to report third quarter earnings per share of $0.66 vs. $0.62 a year ago.
TearLab (TEAR) is expected to report a fourth quarter loss of $0.10 per share vs. a loss of $0.17 per share a year ago.
On the economics calendar Wednesday, MBA mortgage applications and consumer confidence are due out. But all eyes will be on the Federal Open Market Committee rate decision and Chairman Ben Bernanke's press conference following the press release. Overnight, New Zealand is expected to report its fourth quarter GDP data and the China HSBC manufacturing PMI is expected to be released ahead of the eurozone manufacturing PMI.
More from Benzinga
We looked PAST Cyprus a long time ago...
Most people don't know WHERE Cyprus is or where to LOOK....imo
Watched Jim's show late last night.....
Jim, YOU HAVE TO TALK A LITTLE SLOWER...
And take down that Gold/Yellow BACKGROUND on the Commentary...
It is aggravating to Senior's eyes and hard to read...
Try a LIGHT BLUE or LIGHT GREEN....!!!
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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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