Futures slightly lower after mixed Tuesday
Investors await retail sales data for a clue on US consumer spending.
U.S. equity futures were slightly lower in early premarket trade after a mixed day on Wall Street Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) was able to close at a new record high but the S&P 500 ($INX) slipped slightly on Tuesday away from its record close.
In other news, French nonfarm payrolls fell 0.3% in February, below expectations of a drop of 0.2% in the month, which would have been a flat reading month-over-month.
Carl Icahn reportedly increased his stake in Herbalife (HLF) on March 8 but no filing has been made yet. This came after news that the company was not the subject of an FTC investigation, which could be a huge blow to noted bear Bill Ackman.
Boeing (BA) was given the go-ahead by the FAA to test its new battery casing as it looks to get the grounded 787 Dreamliner back in the air.
- S&P 500 futures fell 1.1 points to 1,545.70.
- The EUR/USD was lower at 1.3022.
- Spanish 10-year government bond yields were flat at 4.72%.
- Italian 10-year government bond yields were higher at 4.63% from 4.6%.
- Gold fell 0.12% to $1,589.90 per ounce.
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Asian shares were lower overnight on little news and as fear of a new slowdown in China are weighing on the global economy. The Japanese Nikkei Index fell 0.61% and the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.99% and the Hang Seng Index declined 1.46%. Also, the Korean Kospi rose 0.32% on reports of a new fiscal stimulus and Australian shares fell 0.5%.
European shares were lower in early trade ahead of the industrial production release for the eurozone and on some weak earnings from companies such as Inditex as well as rumors of a secondary offering to fill a capital shortfall at Commerzbank (CRZBY). The Spanish Ibex Index fell 0.31% and the Italian FTSE MIB Index fell 0.43% as leaders could not form a coalition in the Senate. Meanwhile, the German DAX fell 0.08% and the French CAC fell 0.31% while U.K. shares declined 0.63%.
Commodities were mixed overnight. Goldman Sachs (GS) analysts released a note Monday saying that the commodity selloff was overdone. WTI crude futures rose 0.43% to $92.94 per barrel and Brent crude futures rose 0.16% to $109.87 per barrel. Copper futures fell 0.11% to $355.05 on global growth fears. Gold was lower and silver futures declined 0.43% to $29.05 per ounce.
Currency markets were in a strong reversal mode as the pound gained and the yen gained as well on fears that further easing in both economies is not as near as originally thought. The EUR/USD was lower at 1.3022 and the dollar fell against the yen to 95.78. Overall, the Dollar Index fell 0.04% on weakness against the pound, the yen, the Swiss franc and the Swedish krone. The GBP/USD rose 0.4%, reversing Tuesday's losses, to 1.4962 and the EUR/GBP fell 0.48% to 0.8703 making the pound the biggest mover overnight alongside the yen.
Stocks moving in the premarket included:
- Boeing (BA) shares rose 0.76% premarket after the company got approval to test the 787 Dreamliner again by the FAA.
- J.C. Penney (JCP) shares fell 0.89% premarket after rumors that CEO Ron Johnson was set to leave the company were quashed Tuesday.
- Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (SPPI) shares fell 40.47% premarket on lower than expected guidance.
- Yandex (YNDX) shares rose 0.52% after falling 7.99% Tuesday on a secondary offering.
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Notable companies expected to report earnings Wednesday include:
- Complete Genomics (GNOM) is expected to report a fourth quarter loss of $0.53 per share vs. a loss of $0.67 per share a year ago.
- Express (EXPR) is expected to report fourth quarter earnings per share of $0.74 vs. $0.70 a year ago.
- Guess (GES) is expected to report fourth quarter earnings per share of $0.87 vs. $1.05 a year ago.
- Hot Topic (HOTT) is expected to report fourth quarter earnings per share of $0.27 vs. $0.21 a year ago.
- The Men's Warehouse (MW) is expected to report a fourth quarter loss of $0.05 per share vs. a loss of $0.05 per share a year ago.
On the economics calendar Wednesday, MBA purchase applications, retail sales, import and export prices, and business inventories are due out. Also, the Treasury is set to auction 10-year notes. Overnight, the Australian employment report, Swiss National Bank rate decision, and European Central Bank monthly report could move markets.
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