By RTT News,
February 06, 2014, 06:39:00 AM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - Early indications suggest that Wall Street may still be battling with its uncertainties, as more catalysts are set to unfold in the last two trading sessions of the week. The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a higher opening on Thursday. The major Asian markets, with the exception of Japan, advanced amid the release of some positive Australian data. European stocks are trading sharply higher ahead of central bank decisions from the region. Sentiment in the domestic markets may hinge on reaction to some earnings announcements and the jobless claims data, even as the non-farm payrolls report due tomorrow could curb some of the early optimism.
At 6:15 am ET, the Dow futures are rising 70 points, the Nasdaq 100 futures are moving up 17.75 points and the S&P 500 futures are adding 8.75 points.
U.S. stocks closed lower on Thursday amid the release of soft private payrolls data and mixed earnings.
On the economic front, The Labor Department is scheduled to release its jobless claims report for the week ended February 1st at 8:30 am ET. Economists expect claims to have declined to 337,000 from 348,000 in the previous week. Around the same time, the Labor Department will also release its preliminary fourth quarter productivity and costs report. Economists expect the sequential productivity growth to have slowed to 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter, while unit labor costs is estimated to have declined by 0.7 percent.
Also at 8:30 am ET, the Commerce Department is due to release its trade balance report for December. The consensus estimates call for narrowing of the trade deficit to $34.3 billion from a deficit of $36 billion in November. Federal Reserve Governor Daniel Tarullo will testify on Dodd-Frank before the Senate Banking Committee in Washington at 10 am ET. Later at 5:30 am ET, Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren is scheduled to speak on the economic outlook in Sarasota, Florida.
In corporate news, Disney (DIS) reported first quarter adjusted earnings of $1.04 per share on revenues of $12.31 billion. The results were ahead of estimates.
Twitter (TWTR) reported better than expected fourth quarter results. The guidance was also positive. However, user growth slowed in the quarter. Pandora (P) reported better than expected fourth quarter earnings, while its revenues were slightly shy of estimates. The company's 2014 guidance was weak. Akamai Technologies ( AKAM ) reported fourth quarter results that beat estimates and issued upbeat guidance for its first quarter.
O'Reilly Automotive (ORLY) reported fourth quarter earnings of $1.40 per share on sales of $1.62 billion. For 2014, the company expects earnings per share of $6.74-$6.84 on revenues of $7 billion to $7.2 billion. The results exceeded estimates and the guidance was in line. Among insurers, Lincoln National's (LNC) fourth quarter results were better than expected. XL Group (XL) also reported better than expected fourth quarter results. Meanwhile, Prudential's (PRU) fourth quarter results trailed expectations. Reinsurers Hannover Re (THG) and Everest Re (RE) reported better than expected results.
Activision Blizzard ( ATVI ), bebe Stores ( BEBE ), Brooks Automation (BRKS), CTS Corp. (CTS), Expedia (EXPE), FMC Tech (FTI), Lattice Semiconductor (LSCC), LinkedIn (LNKD), NCR (NCR), NETGEAR (NTGR), Republic Services (RSG) and Verisign (VRSN) are among the companies due to release their quarterly results after the close of trading.
Most major Asian markets advanced, with the exception of Japan, where the major average retreated modestly as the yen remained steady. The gains came despite the lackluster lead from Wall Street overnight. The Chinese and the New Zealand markets remained closed for public holidays.
Japan's Nikkei 225 average closed down 25.26 points or 0.18 percent at 14,155. Australia's All Ordinaries ended 58.70 points or 1.15 percent higher at 5,148, thanks to a robust batch of domestic economic data. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed at 21,423, up 153.75 points or 0.72 percent.
On the economic front, the results of a survey by the National Australia Bank showed that its index measuring business confidence in Australia rose to a 2-1/2 year high of 8 in the fourth quarter. The business conditions index rose 4 points, yet stayed negative at -3. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that the nation posted a trade surplus of A$468 million in December compared to expectations for a deficit of A$200 million. Exports rose 4 percent month-over-month, faster than the 2 percent import growth. A separate report showed that retail sales in Australia rose 0.5 percent month-over-month in December, in line with forecasts.
European stocks have opened higher and are currently posting solid gains, as encouraging earnings from a slew of companies offset disappointing German industrial orders data. Traders await central bank decisions by the European Central Bank and the Bank of England for further direction.
In corporate news, Credit Suisse (CS) reported fourth quarter profits that were below estimates by most analysts. German automaker Daimler reported a strong increase in its fourth quarter profit and also issued positive profit forecast for 2014. Meanwhile, Swedish truck maker Volvo reported fourth quarter earnings that trailed expectations and also announced job cuts.
Alcatel-Lucent (LU) reported a profit for its fourth quarter and also said it has received offers for its enterprise business from China Huaxin. Vodafone (VOD) said its third quarter service revenue declined 4.9 percent. AstraZeneca ( AZN ) reported a decline in its fourth quarter profits, hurt by patent expirations. Akzo Nobel reversed to a profit in its fourth quarter despite falling sales, as it benefited from cost cuts.
In economic news, house price inflation in the U.K. weakened in January, but to a smaller extent than expected by economists, latest data revealed. The house price index advanced 7.3 percent on an annual basis after gaining 7.5 percent in December.
The latest survey by the INSEE statistics institute found that French business managers aim to increase their investment in the manufacturing industry by 3 percent this year, revising up their October forecast for a contraction.
German industrial orders unexpectedly fell in December by 0.5 percent due to weaker domestic demand, data from the country's Economy Ministry revealed. Economists had expected orders to grow by 0.2 percent from the previous month.
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