By RTT News, February 28, 2013, 06:34:00 AM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - Wall Street sentiment remains lukewarm on Thursday, with the major U.S. index futures pointing to a slightly higher opening. The latest catalyst that has served to give an impetus to the market is the fact that the central banks world over have stuck to their guns and reiterated their resolve to maintain easy monetary policy until the global economy is live and kicking. Earlier in the global trading, Asian stocks closed notably higher, while European stocks are also advancing amid the promise of continued stimulus support. The domestic markets could also react to the Commerce Department's revised GDP report, a regional manufacturing survey and the jobless claims report.
As of 6:15 am ET, the Dow futures are rising 8 points and the S&P 500 futures are moving up 1.70 points, while the Nasdaq 100 futures are adding 3.75 points.
U.S. stocks advanced strongly on Wednesday, helped by bargain hunting that came about in reaction to some positive data points.
On the economic front, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release the second read of its fourth quarter GDP report at 8:30 am ET. Economists expect GDP to be upwardly revised to show 0.5 percent growth for the quarter compared to the 0.1 percent drop estimated earlier.
Around the same time, the Labor Department will release its jobless claims report. The consensus estimates call for a decline in jobless claims to 360,000 in the week ended February 23rd compared to 362,000 in the previous week.
The ISM-Chicago is due to release the results of its regional manufacturing survey at 10 am ET. The business barometer based on the survey is expected to decline to 55 in February from 55.6 in January. Federal Reserve Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin is scheduled to speak at the Atlanta Federal Reserve's Banking Outlook Conference at 12:30 pm ET.
In corporate news, Limited Brands' ( LTD ) fourth quarter results exceeded estimates, while the revenue guidance trailed expectations.
Groupon ( GRPN ) reported a loss of 12 cents per share, including a non-operating loss of $50.6 million, for its fourth quarter on revenues of $638.3 million. Analysts' estimates that exclude one-time items called for earnings of 3 cents per share on revenues of $638.4 million. The company guided first quarter revenues below consensus estimates.
Copart ( CPRT ) reported second quarter earnings of 31 cents per share on revenues of $266.2 million. The earnings mixed estimates, while the revenues were in line. Pall Corp. ( PLL ) reported second quarter pro forma earnings of 73 cents per share on revenues of $662.5 million. The results exceeded estimates.
Equity Residential ( EQR ) announced that the company and AvlonBay Communities have completed their previously announced acquisition of the assets and liabilities of Archstone Enterprise from Lehman Brothers.
Mylan Labs (MYL) announced an agreement to buy generic injectable products maker Agila Specialities from India'sStrides Arcolab for $1.6 billion in cash. Separately, the company reported fourth quarter earnings that exceeded estimates, while its revenues were about in line.
Nordstrom ( JWN ) announced that its board authorized an $800 million stock repurchase program. The company also announced an 11 percent increase in its quarterly dividend. Monster Beverage (MSNT) reported fourth quarter earnings of 39 cents per share on sales of $451 million. The results trailed estimates.
Deckers Outdoor ( DECK ), Gap (GPS), Mentor Graphics ( MENT ), MolyCorp. ( MCP ), Salesforce.com ( CRM ), Scientific Games ( SGMS ), Sonus Networks ( SONS ) and Sotheby's ( BID ) are among the companies due to release their quarterly results.
The Asian markets advanced strongly, led by the Chinese market, as Wall Street's buoyancy became contagious. Meanwhile, amid the release of the Union budget for the fiscal year 2013-14, the Indian markets retreated sharply.
Japan's Nikkei 225 average opened higher and moved sideways until afternoon. The index advanced steadily thereafter, closing up 305.39 points or 2.71 percent at 11,559. Australia's All Ordinaries hovered in positive territory throughout the session before closing up 67.30 points or 1.33 percent at 5,120. Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed at 23,020, up 443.26 points or 1.96 percent.
On the economic front, a report released by Japan'sMinistry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed that Japan's industrial production rose a less than expected 1 percent month-over-month in January. Confirming speculation, the Japanese government nominated ADB president Haruhiko Kuroda to the post of the Governor of the Bank of Japan. Kuroda is supposed to favoring an easier monetary policy.
European stocks are advancing, encouraged central bank pledge of continued stimulatory support. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi indicated that the central bank is in no hurry to exit stimulus as he anticipates inflation to come significantly below the bank's target this year, giving room for maintaining an accommodative monetary stance.
A survey showed that the U.K. consumer confidence sidelined at depressed levels in February. The consumer confidence index based on GfK's survey remained unchanged at -26.
A revised inflation report released by Eurostat showed that the harmonized index of consumer prices rose 2 percent year-over-year in January after rising 2.2 percent in December. The inflation rate was in line with the preliminary estimate.
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