Tension in Ukraine stepped up on Wednesday after Moscow warned
that it was prepared to step in if there were any attacks on its
interests in Ukraine.
The strong statement from Russia came just days after the US,
the EU, Ukraine and Russia agreed to deescalate the situation and
avoid military action.
The US has expressed disappointment in Russia's comments, saying
they are far from what was agreed upon in the Geneva accord. If the
problems do escalate, most expect that the US will call for more
sanctions on Moscow, which could disrupt Russian gas supplies to
In other news around the markets:
During a week long tour of Asia, US President Barack Obama
reassured Japan that he was committed to protecting Japanese
interests, including small isles which are the center of a
territorial dispute with China. Obama urged Japan to engage in
peaceful dialogue with China over the islands, but Beijing
responded by saying that the islets were a part of China. The FCC
is planning to put out a proposal on Thursday that could regulate
internet traffic and allow broadband providers to charge websites
for access to their fast speed connections. The FCC has been
struggling to maintain a balance between keeping the internet open
and accessible to consumers and allowing providers to create new
business models. The proposal is expected to outline a middle
ground in which companies like
can charge a fee for premium speed connections, but cannot slow
down or block other websites. On Thursday, the FDA is set to
release new rules for electronic cigarettes which are expected to
further regulate the industry, but fall short of the strict
regulations governing regular cigarettes. The new regulations will
not prohibit advertisements or internet sales, but they will ban
sales to people under 18 and require FDA approval before going to
the market. In a move which activist investor Carl Icahn has
announced another $30 billion in share buybacks through the end of
2015. The company also approved a seven-for-one stock split, a rare
action which means that current shareholders will receive six
additional shares for every Apple share they own now. The split is
set to go into effect on June second this year.
Asian markets were mostly lower with the exception of the Hang
Seng index, which rose 0.24 percent. The Japanese NIKKEI was down
0.97 percent, the Shanghai composite was down 0.50 percent, the
Shenzhen composite lost 0.72 percent and the KOSPI was down 0.10
Europe's markets made a comeback on Thursday; the UK's FTSE was
up 0.63 percent, the eurozone's STOXX 600 gained 0.67 percent, the
German DAX rose 0.69 percent, France's CAC 40 was up 0.85 percent
and the Italian MIB rose 1.09 percent.
Energy futures were marginally higher; Brent futures were up
0.05 percent and WTI futures gained 0.10 percent. Gold was up 0.19
percent but silver lost 0.24 percent, and industrial metals were
also mixed. Copper gained 0.89 percent and tin was up 0.42 percent,
but aluminum and zinc lost 0.87 percent and 1.06 percent
Currency markets were quiet on Thursday; the euro maintained its
position at $1.3823 and lost 0.15 percent against the yen. The
dollar also lost against the yen, down 0.18 percent, but gained
0.11 percent against the Australian dollar.
Notable earnings released on Wednesday included:
Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:
) reported first quarter EPS of $1.04 on revenue of $20.56 billion,
compared to last year's EPS of $0.99 on revenue of $20.60 billion.
Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:
) reported first quarter EPS of $0.34 on revenue of $2.50 billion,
compared to last year's EPS of $0.12 on revenue of $1.46 billion.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:
) reported first quarter EPS of $11.62 on revenue of $45.65
billion, compared to last year's EPS of $10.09 on revenue of $43.60
billion. Boeing Company (NYSE:
) reported first quarter EPS of $1.76 on revenue of $20.47 billion,
compared to last year's EPS of $1.73 on revenue of $18.89 billion.
Stocks moving in the Premarket included:
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:
) gained 7.52 percent in premarket trade after announcing better
than expected earnings and a seven-to-one stock split plan on
Wednesday. Emerson Electric Co (NYSE:
) was up 0.79 percent in premarket trade after gaining 2.65 percent
over the past five days. Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:
) was up 0.58 percent in premarket trade after losing 0.26 percent
Notable earnings releases expected on Thursday include:
General Motors Company (NYSE:
) is expected to report first quarter EPS of $0.09 on revenue of
$38.43 billion, compared to last year's EPS of $0.67 on revenue of
$36.88 billion. Caterpillar, Inc. (NYSE:
) is expected to report first quarter EPS of $1.23 on revenue of
$13.24 billion, compared to last year's EPS of $1.31 on revenue of
$13.21 billion. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:
) is expected to report first quarter EPS of $0.63 on revenue of
$20.38 billion, compared to last year's EPS of $0.72 on revenue of
$20.49 billion. Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:
) is expected to report first quarter EPS of $0.24 on revenue of
$19.44 billion, compared to last year's EPS of $0.18 on revenue of
Thursday's notable economic releases will include Japanese CPI,
US durable goods, US initial and continuing jobless claims, British
retail sales, and the German Ifo business climate index.
For a recap of Wednesday's market action, click .
Tune into Benzinga's #PreMarket Prep show with Dennis Dick and
© 2014 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.
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