Stock futures are pointed toward a negative open this morning as
investors await consumer confidence and housing indicators.
(INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures are off 0.03% at 14,743 and
(INDEXSP:.INX) futures ticked down 0.09% to 1,586.80. Futures on
(INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) were dead flat at 2,858.75.
Later this morning, the Conference Board will publish its reading
of consumer confidence for April. The index is expected to rise 2.3
points to 62 this month. Yesterday, we found that incomes lagged
behind estimates and only rose 0.2% in March and consumer spending
rose by just as much. The S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index
will also hit the wires. Economists predict that the index will
show a 1% month-over-month rise in home prices in the 20 cities
that it tracks in February.
Asian markets were mostly lower overnight after Japan released a
mixed bag of economic data. PMI showed a better-than-expected
expansion of 51.1 in manufacturing. (Readings over fifty signal
growth in the sector.) Also surprising on the upside were household
spending, which jumped 5.2% year-over-year, and the unemployment
rate, which fell 0.2 percentage points to 4.1%. Industrial
production fell 6.1% (a drop of 7.2% was expected). On the down
side, retail sales unexpectedly sank 0.3%. The rise in spending and
fall in unemployment reflects improving confidence in Japan as the
government embarks on a radical plan to jolt the economy back to
life with fiscal and monetary stimulus.
Unemployment in the eurozone hit an all-time high of 12.1% in
March, falling in line with expectations. Austria had the lowest
unemployment at 4.7% and Greece took the worst spot with 27.2% (in
January, the latest available figure), followed closely by Spain
with 26.7%. From last year, 19 European Union member states saw
their unemployment rates rise. Also, consumer price inflation
slowed on a yearly basis in the eurozone. The flash reading of CPI
for April showed that prices rose only 1.2% year-over-year.
Increasing unemployment and slowing inflation provide a backdrop
for Thursday's European Central Bank announcement; the ECB is
widely expected to cut rates to mitigate the situation.
In corporate news, beverage conglomerate
) saw adjusted earnings fall to $3.43 billion as a slowdown in
Brazil hurt revenues. Sales in China rose 16%.
) beat expectations for first-quarter earnings, booking earnings
per share of $1.10 as revenue climbed 17% yearly to $1.1 billion.
The company has faced criticism from high-profile hedge fund
manager Bill Ackman, who claims that it is a pyramid scheme. Shares
rose slightly, as the company forecast weaker growth than expected
for the current quarter.
Buffalo Wild Wings
) shares fell 2% in the pre-market after it reported earnings of
$0.87 per share, missing estimates by $0.12. The chain restaurant
said that same-store sales are improving, gaining 5.2% this month.