Futures flat ahead of Bernanke

With the Fed Chairman appearing again in Washington, markets are set for a steady open Wednesday morning.

By Benzinga Feb 27, 2013 9:19AM
By Matthew Kanterman

U.S. equity futures were flat in premarket trading ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's second day of testimony in Washington. On Tuesday, he hinted that the Fed isn't concerned with its exit strategy from its current quantitative easing program, noting that it could exit stimulus by doing nothing.

In other news, European business and consumer confidence remained strong in the latest Business and Consumer Confidence Survey despite headwinds such as the Italian elections. The index rose to 91.1 in February from 89.5 in January and beat expectations of 89.9.


Italy sold 5- and 10-year bonds this morning with yields rising from the previous auction post-elections but in line with the market's expectations.


The latest update to British GDP was released, with the fourth-quarter figure reiterated at a contraction of 0.3%. However, the index of services component was revised lower to -0.1% from 0.6%. Business Investment was lower than expected at -1.2% quarter-over-quarter, and the previous quarter's figure was revised sharply lower to 0.5% growth from a previous reading of 3.8%.


S&P 500 futures were flat at 1,492.20.


The EUR/USD was higher at 1.3098.


Spanish 10-year government bond yields fell to 5.35%.


Italian 10-year government bond yields fell to 4.88% after the auction at 4.83%.


Gold fell 0.45% to $1,608.20 per ounce.


Click here for more of Benzinga's Top News stories!


Statistics arrow in three dimensions © Polka Dot, Jupiter, GettyAsian markets

Asian shares were mixed overnight, with Japanese stocks falling as the yen strengthened. The Japanese Nikkei Index fell 1.27%, the Shanghai Composite Index fell rose 0.87% and the Hang Seng Index rose 0.25%. Also, the Korean Kospi was up 0.2%, and Australian shares rose 0.66%.


European markets

European shares were slightly higher in early trade boosted by the confidence numbers despite the weak U.K. GDP report. The Spanish Ibex Index rose 0.31%, and the Italian FTSE MIB Index rose 0.29% despite weakness in banks. Meanwhile, the German DAX rose 0.16%, the French CAC rose 0.33% and U.K. shares rose 0.14%.



Commodities were mixed overnight as energy futures rose and metals lagged. WTI Crude futures rose 0.28% to $92.88 per barrel, and Brent Crude futures rose 0.4% to $113.16 per barrel. Copper futures fell 0.29% to $357.05 per pound after a Chinese research institute said China needs tighter monetary policy. Gold was lower, and silver futures fell 0.41% to $29.21 per ounce.



Currency markets were rather quiet after days of volatility overnight. The EUR/USD was higher at 1.3098, the dollar fell against the yen to 91.66 and the pound rose against the dollar to 1.5130. Overall, the Dollar Index fell 0.24% on weakness against the euro, the pound, the yen and the Swiss franc. Notably, the Australian dollar was rather weak, falling 0.42% against the U.S. dollar and 0.77% against the yen.


Premarket movers

Stocks moving in the premarket included:

  • First Solar (FSLR) shares fell 11.35% premarket after the company reported weaker than expected earnings and lowered guidance.
  • Priceline.com (PCLN) shares rose 3.76% after the company reported earnings that beat estimates.
  • Edison International (EIX) shares rose 4.08% after a strong earnings report, beating estimates by 70%.
  • Lockheed Martin (LMT) shares fell 1.26% despite a Pentagon spokesman restating that it's committed to the F-35 program even with the sequester set to hit.


Notable companies expected to report earnings Wednesday include:

  • A. B. InBev (BUD) is expected to report fourth-quarter earnings per share of $1.18 vs. $1.21 a year ago.
  • Chicago Bridge and Iron (CBI) is expected to report fourth-quarter EPS of 83 cents vs. 70 cents a year ago.
  • Fortress Investment Group (FIG) is expected to report fourth-quarter EPS of 14 cents vs. 9 cents a year ago.
  • Groupon (GRPN) is expected to report fourth-quarter EPS of 3 cents vs. a loss of 2 cents per share a year ago.
  • J.C. Penney (JCP) is expected to report a fourth-quarter loss of 14 cents per share vs. EPS of 74 cents a year ago.
  • Target (TGT) is expected to report fourth-quarter EPS of $1.48 vs. $1.43 a year ago.
  • TJX Companies (TJX) is expected to report fourth-quarter EPS of 81 cents vs. 62 cents a year ago.


On the economics calendar Wednesday, Durable goods orders and pending home sales are due out. Also, the Treasury is set to auction 7-year notes, and the Fed's Richard Fisher is set to speak. Overnight, Spanish GDP and German unemployment data should move markets.


More from Benzinga



Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


StockScouter rates stocks from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, using a system of advanced mathematics to determine a stock's expected risk and return. Ratings are displayed on a bell curve, meaning there will be fewer ratings of 1 and 10 and far more of 4 through 7.

125 rated 1
264 rated 2
485 rated 3
679 rated 4
640 rated 5
617 rated 6
632 rated 7
493 rated 8
276 rated 9
153 rated 10

Top Picks

TAT&T Inc9



Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.

Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.

Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.