Futures lower as G20 discussed yen moves
Euro fears as well as reignited overall global growth concerns weighed on stocks.
U.S. equity futures traded lower in premarket action as the G20 nations struggled to find common ground on Japan's moves on the yen. But they reaffirmed their commitment to market-determined exchange rates.
Italy's trade surplus was smaller than expected in December at 2.16 billion euros vs. economist estimates of a surplus of 2.22 billion euros. Also, the European trade surplus rose to 12 billion euros in December, better than forecasts of a surplus of 10.7 billion euros.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi spoke overnight saying that the exchange rate is not a policy tool but is rather a factor that goes into the price stability equation and that the fourth quarter GDP report Thursday was disappointingly weak.
Reserve Bank of Australia Board member John Edwards believes that the Australian dollar is too high and is a risk to Australian growth going forward. Australian authorities would like to see a weaker Aussie dollar to boost exports and fuel growth.
In other news around the markets:
- S&P 500 futures fell 1.6 points to 1,516.90.
- The EUR/USD was lower at 1.3338.
- Spanish 10-year government bond yields fell to 5.19%.
- Italian 10-year government bond yields fell to 4.39%.
- Gold fell 0.48% to $1,627.80.
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Asian shares were mixed overnight as weakness in Japan was offset by strength elsewhere. The Japanese Nikkei Index fell 1.18% and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.57% while the Hang Seng Index rose 0.13%. Also, the Korean Kospi Index rose 0.08% and Australian shares fell 0.06%.
European shares were mixed and traded near flat in early trade ahead of the release of the official G20 statement. The Spanish Ibex Index fell 0.02% and the Italian FTSE MIB Index rose 0.14%. Meanwhile, the German DAX fell 0.05% and the French CAC rose 0.34% while U.K. shares rose 0.04%.
Commodities were mostly lower overnight on Euro fears ahead of the G20 statement on currencies. WTI crude futures fell 0.47% to $96.83 per barrel and Brent crude futures fell 0.19% to $117.76 per barrel. Copper futures rose 0.09% to $375.55 per barrel. Gold was lower and silver futures fell 0.54% to $30.19 per barrel.
Currency markets showed euro weakness overnight as the dollar and the yen reigned. The EUR/USD was lower at 1.3338 and the dollar fell against the yen to 92.56. Overall, the Dollar Index fell 0.03% despite strength against the euro, the Canadian dollar, and the Swiss franc and weakness against the yen and the pound. The EUR/JPY was a large mover, declining 0.56% to 123.42.
Stocks moving in the premarket included:
- Herbalife (HLF) shares rose 24.43% premarket after investor Carl Icahn disclosed he has taken a 12.7% stake in the company.
- Nu Skin Enterprises (NUS) shares rose 4.94% despite noted short seller Muddy Waters Research taking a new short position in the company.
- Ellie Mae (ELLI) shares rose 10.15% after the company reported better than expected earnings.
- B&G Foods (BGS) shares fell 7.38% following a weak fourth quarter earnings report.
Notable companies expected to report earnings Friday include:
- American Electric Power (AEP) is expected to report fourth quarter earnings per share of $0.45 vs. $0.40 a year ago.
- Campbell's Soup Co. (CPB) is expected to report second quarter earnings per share of $0.66 vs. $0.64 a year ago.
- Rogers Communication (RCI) is expected to report fourth quarter earnings per share of $0.72 vs. $0.70 a year ago.
- TRW Automotive Holdings (TRW) is expected to report fourth quarter earnings per share of $1.35 vs. $1.84 a year ago.
- VF Corp. (VFC) is expected to report fourth quarter earnings per share of $3.03 vs. $2.32 a year ago.
On the economics calendar Friday, the Empire State manufacturing index, TIC flows, and industrial production data are due out. Also, the Federal Reserve's Sandra Pinalto is set to speak.
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