Futures Flat Despite Italian Weakness, Eye FOMC Decision
U.S. equity futures were flat in early trade as Italian shares
plunged. This occurred as the euro rose above 1.35 against the
dollar for the first time since 2011, showing broad strength
against a basket of currencies. Economists and analysts now worry
that the strong euro will eventually be negative for the eurozone
In other news around the markets:
Italy sold 5- and 10-year bonds this morning with yields falling
and the bid-to-cover rising while the take-up reached the maximum
target. Spain's economy contracted 0.7 percent in the fourth
quarter or at a 1.8 percent annualized rate, slightly weaker than
forecasts of a 0.6 percent contraction in the quarter or a 1.7
percent annualized rate. Germany sold benchmark 30-year bonds this
morning with yields rising to 2.45 percent from 2.34 percent and
demand declining. S&P 500 futures were flat at 1,505.30. The
EUR/USD was was higher at 1.3543. Spanish 10-year government bond
yields rose to 5.18 percent. Italian 10-year government bond yields
rose to 4.22 percent. Gold rose 0.25 percent to $1,667.20 per
Asian shares were stronger overnight ahead of the FOMC rate
decision. The Japanese Nikkei Index rose 2.28 percent and the
Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.00 percent while the Hang Seng
Index rose 0.71 percent. Also, the Korean Kospi rose 0.43 percent
and Australian shares rose 0.16 percent.
European shares were mostly lower overnight led by Italy and oil
service stocks. The Spanish Ibex Index fell 0.02 percent and the
Italian MIB Index declined 1.84 percent led lower by Saipen, the
oil services company, which fell 34 percent, and financials.
Meanwhile, the German DAX fell 0.07 percent and the French CAC fell
0.01 percent while U.K. shares rose 0.07 percent.
Commodities were stronger overnight led by Natural Gas and
Copper. WTI Crude futures rose 0.26 percent to $97.80 per barrel
and Brent Crude futures rose 0.27 percent to $114.67 per barrel and
Natural Gas futures rose 1.04 percent to $3.23 per million BTU.
Copper futures rose 1.1 percent on increasing Asian demand and low
inventories. Gold was higher and silver futures rose 0.84 percent
to $31.45 per ounce.
Currency markets saw broad euro strength and broad yen weakness
overnight in a clear risk-on environment. The EUR/USD was higher at
1.3543, the first time above 1.35 since November of 2011, and the
dollar rose against the yen to 91.27. Overall, the Dollar Index
fell 0.16 percent on weakness against the euro and the Swiss franc.
Also, the Aussie dollar was weak against the greenback and the euro
but rose against the yen. Lastly, the dollar-shekel rate was
unchanged overnight despite Israel Central Bank Governor Stanley
Fischer announcing his intentions to step down.
Stocks moving in the pre-market included:
Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:
) shares rose 9.65 percent pre-market as the company announced that
CEO Aubrey McClendon is to step down. Amazon (NASDAQ:
) shares rose 8.51 percent after the company reported earnings that
missed estimates despite showing strong revenue growth. Hess (NYSE:
) shares rose 1.01 percent pre-market after rising more than nine
percent Tuesday after Elliot Management announced a position in the
company with intent to overthrow the board. Ford (NYSE:
) shares fell 0.19 percent pre-market after declining more than 4.6
percent Tuesday after posting earnings that missed estimates and
guiding for a weak European market in 2013.
Notable companies expected to report earnings Wednesday
) is expected to report fourth quarter EPS of $1.19 vs. $1.83 a
year ago. The company is also set to comment on the state of the
investigation into the 787 Dreamliner. ConocoPhillips (NYSE:
) is expected to report fourth quarter EPS of $1.42 vs. $2.02 a
year ago. Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:
) is expected to report fourth quarter EPS of $0.59 vs. $0.57 a
year ago. Marathon Petroleum Corp. (NYSE:
) is expected to report fourth quarter EPS of $2.08 vs. a loss of
$0.21 a year ago. Hess (NYSE:
) is expected to report fourth quarter EPS of $1.25 vs. $1.17.
) is expected to report fourth quarter EPS of $0.15.
On the economics calendar Wednesday, MBA Purchase Applications
and the ADP Employment Report are due out. In addition, the initial
fourth quarter GDP estimate will be released for the U.S. and FOMC
policy statement will be released later this afternoon. Also, the
Treasury is set to sell 7-year notes. the Spanish Budget Balance
statement is expected and could move markets.
Good luck and good trading.
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.
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