Stock futures are inching higher again today as investors remain
hopeful of a positive outcome to the Greek financing crisis.
The S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq are up by
less than 0.2 percent after slightly larger gains across the
Atlantic. The German DAX led European markets with a 0.6 percent
increase, while France's CAC-40 rose about 0.32 percent.
The performance was stronger in Asia, where Chinese and Japanese
equities surged 1-2 percent on optimism that China's central bank
will loosen monetary policy. The move followed a comment by an
economist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences that the
country could "move shortly" to help overcome the effects of the
European debt crisis.
For a second straight day, the foreign-exchange market is showing a
broad theme of risk appetite. The euro, and Australian dollar are
higher against the greenback, while safety currencies such as the
yen and Swiss franc are down. This follows a surge of buying in the
euro shortly after U.S. equities began trading yesterday and may
indicate that significant short positions still need to be unwound.
The picture in commodities is also mostly bullish. Oil is up almost
1 percent, following the strength in the euro, and silver climbed
about one-third of a percent. Copper also climbed 1 percent, and
most of the agricultural commodities are fractionally higher. Gold
In company-specific news, Walt Disney, Western Union, and Panera
Bread all fell after reporting weak top-line growth after
yesterday's close. Disney's per-share earnings were $0.80 for the
last quarter, beating the $0.72 estimate, but revenue was just
$10.78 billion versus the expected $11.18 billion. DIS is down more
than 1 percent before the bell.
WU reported revenue of only $1.43 billion, about $10 million below
consensus, sending the stock down almost 7 percent. PNRA is also
down 3 percent after fourth-quarter sales totaled $495.77 million,
compared with expectations of $499 million.
There have been no major economic reports in the last two sessions,
but activity returns tomorrow with weekly jobless claims and
wholesale trade data.
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