Futures Flat Ahead of Bernanke
U.S. equity futures were flat in pre-market trading ahead of
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's second day of testimony in
Washington. Tuesday, Bernanke hinted that the Fed is not concerned
with its exit strategy, noting that the Fed could exit stimulus by
In other news around the markets:
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 beating expectations of a reading 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 GDP figure being reiterated at a
contraction of 0.3 percent. However, the index of services
component was revised lower to -0.1 percent from 0.6 percent.
Business Investment was lower than expected at -1.2 percent
quarter-over-quarter and the previous quarter's figure was revised
sharply lower to 0.5 percent growth from a previous reading of 3.8
percent growth. 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 percent. Italian 10-year government bond yields
fell to 4.88 percent after the auction at 4.83 percent. Gold fell
0.45 percent to $1,608.20 per ounce.
Asian shares were mixed overnight with Japanese stocks falling
as the yen strengthened. The Japanese Nikkei Index fell 1.27
percent and the Shanghai Composite Index fell rose 0.87 percent
while the Hang Seng Index rose 0.25 percent. Also, the Korean Kospi
rose 0.2 percent and Australian shares rose 0.66 percent.
European shares were slightly higher in early trade boosted by
the confidence numbers despite the weak GDP report in the U.K. The
Spanish Ibex Index rose 0.31 percent and the Italian FTSE MIB Index
rose 0.29 percent despite weakness in banks. Meanwhile, the German
DAX rose 0.16 percent and the French CAC rose 0.33 percent while
U.K. shares rose 0.14 percent.
Commodities were mixed overnight as energy futures rose and
metals lagged. WTI Crude futures rose 0.28 percent to $92.88 per
barrel and Brent Crude futures rose 0.4 percent to $113.16 per
barrel. Copper futures fell 0.29 percent to $357.05 per pound after
a Chinese research institute said that China needs tighter monetary
policy. Gold was lower and silver futures fell 0.41 percent to
$29.21 per ounce.
Currency markets were rather quiet after days of volatility
overnight. The EUR/USD was higher at 1.3098 and 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 percent on weakness
against the euro, the pound, the yen, and the Swiss franc. Notably,
the Australian dollar was rather weak, falling 0.42 percent against
the U.S. dollar and 0.77 percent against the yen.
Stocks moving in the pre-market included:
First Solar (NASDAQ:
) shares fell 11.35 percent pre-market after the company reported
weaker than expected earnings and lowered guidance. Priceline.com
) shares rose 3.76 percent after the company reported earnings that
beat estimates. Edison International (NYSE:
) shares rose 4.08 percent pre-market after a strong earnings
report, beating estimates by 70 percent. Lockheed Martin (NYSE:
) shares fell 1.26 percent pre-market despite a Pentagon spokesman
restating that the Pentagon is committed to the F-35 program even
with the Sequester set to hit.
Notable companies expected to report earnings Wednesday
A. B. InBev (NYSE:
) is expected to report fourth quarter EPS of $1.18 vs. $1.21 a
year ago. Chicago Bridge and Iron (NYSE:
) is expected to report fourth quarter EPS of $0.83 vs. $0.70 a
year ago. Fortress Investment Group (NYSE:
) is expected to report fourth quarter EPS of $0.14 vs. $0.09 a
year ago. Groupon (NASDAQ:
) is expected to report fourth quarter EPS of $0.03 vs. a loss of
$0.02 per share a year ago. J.C. Penney (NYSE:
) is expected to report a fourth quarter loss of $0.14 per share
vs. EPS of $0.74 a year ago. Target (NYSE:
) is expected to report fourth quarter EPS of $1.48 vs. $1.43 a
year ago. TJX Companies (NYSE:
) is expected to report fourth quarter EPS of $0.81 vs. $0.62 a
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
Good luck and good trading.
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