#PreMarket Primer: Thursday, March 13: Chinese Data Misses The Mark

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Asian markets pared gains after Chinese data came in below estimates on Thursday morning.

The nation's industrial output grew 8.6 percent in January and February, below analysts' expectations of a 9.5 percent rise. Retail sales data also disappointed, with an 11.8 percent increase. The figure indicated the nation's slowest growth since 2004 and was far below the 13.5 percent estimate.

Addressing the public on Thursday, China's Premier Li Keqiang admitted that 2014 was plagued by more difficulties than last year, but that the nation's government plans to keep economic growth within a reasonable range. Although he didn't give any specific figures, the nation's government has set a 7.5 percent growth target for the year.

Top News

In other news around the markets:

General Motors shares continued their downward spiral after the company admitted that it knew of the defective ignition switch problem three years earlier than originally reported. Late on Wednesday investors learned that the problem was discovered in 2001 and that the company still has not been able to define the scope of the problem. Ahead of Sunday's vote in Crimea on whether or not the region should become a part of Russia, US officials have launched a last-ditch attempt to end the crisis in Ukraine and avoid further tension with Moscow. Secretary of State John Kerry is set to meet with his Russian counterpart in London on Friday in an effort to resolve the issue before the vote takes place. New evidence in the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines jet has clouded the conditions surrounding its disappearance even further. The The Wall Street Journal reported that aviation investigators have said that data sent from the plane's engines indicated that jet stayed in the air for roughly four hours past the time it reached its last confirmed location. After the European Central Bank decided to maintain its current interest rate at its March policy meeting, many have become concerned about the strength of the euro and its impact on the region's struggling economies. Finance ministers from both France and Spain have spoken out to say the bank may be pushed to make a policy change at its April meeting in order to curb the currency's buoyancy.

Asian Markets

Asian markets recovered modestly on Thursday, but disappointing Chinese data weighed on gains. The Japanese NIKKEI lost 0.10 percent, the Shanghai composite was up 1.07 percent, the Shenzhen composite gained 1.18 percent and the Hang Seng index was down 0.67 percent.

European Markets

European markets also improved; the UK's FTSE gained 0.03 percent and the eurozone's STOXX 600 was up 0.15 percent. The German DAX gained 0.23 percent, France's CAC 40 was up 0.17 percent, and Italy's MIB rose 0.31 percent.

Commodities

Energy futures improved; Brent futures were up 0.21 percent and WTI futures gained 0.11 percent. Gold gained 0.15 percent and silver was up 2.59 percent. Industrial metals were mostly higher with copper and aluminum both up 0.46 percent, but zinc lost 0.80 percent.

Currencies

The euro continued to climb and gained 0.30 percent on the dollar and the pound rose 0.23 percent against the greenback. The dollar lost 0.90 percent to the Australian dollar and 0.25 percent to the Japanese yen.

Earnings

Notable earnings released on Wednesday included:

Williams-Sonoma, Inc (NYSE: WSM ) reported fourth quarter EPS of $1.38 on revenue of $1.47 billion, compared to last year's EPS of $1.34 on revenue of $1.41 billion. Express, Inc (NYSE: EXPR )  reported fourth quarter EPS of $0.57 on revenue of $715.90 million, compared to last year's EPS of $0.75 on revenue of $728.71 million. Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN ) reported second quarter EPS of $1.60 on revenue of $452.70 million, compared to last year's EPS of $1.65 on revenue of $422.45 million. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. (NYSE: KKD ) reported fourth quarter EPS of $0.12 on revenue of $112.70 million, compared to last year's EPS of $0.09 on revenue of $118.14 million.

Pre-Market Movers

Stocks moving in the Premarket included:

Leucadia National Corp (NYSE: LUK ) gained 0.35 percent in premarket trade after falling 4.83 percent over the past week. Carnival Corp (NYSE: CCL ) was down 0.66 percent in premarket trade after gaining 1.42 percent on Wednesday. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ ) fell 0.13 percent in premarket trade after losing 2.15 percent over the past five days.

Notable earnings releases expected on Thursday include:

Dollar General Corporation (NYSE: DG ) is expected to report fourth quarter EPS of $1.02 on revenue of $4.63 billion, compared to last year's EPS of $0.97 on revenue of $4.21 billion. Kronos Worldwide Inc (NYSE: KRO ) is expected to report fourth quarter EPS of $0.01 on revenue of $371.45 million, compared to last year's loss of $0.12 per share on revenue of $396.80 million. Christopher & Banks Corporation (NYSE: CBK ) is expected to report a fourth quarter loss of $0.03 on revenue of $106.64 million, compared to last year's loss of $0.11 on revenue of $115.98 million.

Economics

Chinese data will be the star of Thursday's economic calendars with the nation set to release retail sales and industrial production data. Other notable economic releases include US retail sales, Japanese industrial production, Brazilian retail sales, and French CPI.

For a recap of Wednesday's market action, click .

Tune into Benzinga's pre-market info show with Dennis Dick and Joel Elconin here .

© 2014 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Commodities , Economy , Futures , International

Referenced Stocks: CBK , CCL , KKD , KRO , LUK

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