By RTT News, March 01, 2013, 06:37:00 AM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - Sentiment on Wall Street continues to remain nervous on Friday, as indicated by the U.S. index futures, which point to a lower opening. Unless some form of compromise is achieved among lawmakers, automatic-spending cuts would come into effect by the mid-night. The sequestration is expected to trim the already feeble GDP growth and disrupt the 'fits and starts recovery' currently in place. Traders may also focus on domestic economic data on consumer spending, consumer sentiment and the manufacturing sector.
As of 6:15 am ET, the Dow futures are receding 19 points and the S&P 500 futures are moving down 1.70 points, while the Nasdaq 100 futures are slipping 3.50 points.
U.S. stocks moved about in a lackluster manner on Thursday amid the release of mixed economic data and fears ahead of the budget sequestration.
On the economic front, the Commerce Department is set to release its personal income and spending report for January at 8:30 am ET. Economists expect personal income to decline by 2.1 percent, while consumer-spending growth is expected at 0.2 percent.
The automakers will release their vehicle sales for the month of February. Economists expect vehicle sales to come in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 15.2 million units compared to a 15.3 million-unit rate for January.
The final estimate of a consumer sentiment survey by Reuters and the University of Michigan is due at 9:55 am ET. The final consumer sentiment index based on the survey is expected to be downwardly revised to 76 in February from the mid-month reading of 76.
The Institute for Supply Management is scheduled to release the results of its manufacturing survey for February at 10 am ET. The consensus expectations call for a drop in the index to 53.1 in February from 52.8 in January.
Around the same time, the Commerce Department will release its construction spending report for January. Economists expect spending to have increased by 0.6 percent compared to a 0.9 percent increase in December.
In corporate news, Salesforce.com ( CRM ) fourth quarter results exceeded estimates, while its guidance was in line. Digital River ( DRIV ) announced the appointment of former CA Technologies executive David Dobson as its CEO.
Mentor Graphics ( MENT ) reported fourth quarter earnings that exceeded estimates, while the revenues were shy of estimates. The company issued lackluster guidance. Deckers Outdoor ( DECK ) reported better than expected fourth quarter earnings but below-consensus revenues. The 2013 guidance was above consensus estimates.
Sotheby's ( BID ) reported fourth quarter earnings of 96 cents per share on revenues of $269.96 million. The results trailed expectations.
Gap (GPS) reported fourth quarter earnings of 73 cents per share compared to 44 cents per share last year. Net sales rose to $4.73 billion from $4.28 billion in the year-ago quarter. The results exceeded estimates. The company said it expects full year earnings of $2.52-$2.60 per share, below the consensus estimate. The company also announced a 20 percent increase in its quarterly dividend.
The major Asian markets ended on a mixed note, with sentiment impacted by a lackluster lead from Wall Street overnight and a weak Chinese manufacturing data.
Japan's Nikkei 225 average closed up 47.02 points or 0.41 percent. Real estate stocks found particular buying interest on hopes of monetary policy easing. Australia's All Ordinaries languished below the unchanged line throughout the session before closing down 19.50 points or 0.38 percent at 5,101. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed at 22,880, down 140.05 points or 0.61 percent.
On the economic front, the results of an official survey showed that the Chinese manufacturing activity eased in February. The Chinese Federation of Logistics and Purchasing reported that its manufacturing index fell 0.3 points to 50.1.
Inflation report released by Japan'sMinistry of Internal Affairs and Communications showed that annual consumer price inflation was a negative 0.2 percent in January, unchanged from the previous month and in line with forecast.
European stocks are also retreating after China data disappointed and as the U.S automatic spending cuts are set to take effect.
In corporate news, U.K. banking giant Lloyds reported underlying profit of 2.6 billion pounds for the full year compared to 638 million pounds in the year-ago period. On a reported basis, the company reported a loss of 1.4 billion pounds for the full year, partly due to charges set aside to compensate customers to whom it inappropriately sold financial products.
U.K. ad firm WPP reported better than expected full year organic revenue growth and higher pre-tax profits. Insurer Old Mutual reported higher full year pre-tax profits.
On the economic front, German Federal Statistical Office released retail sales data for January, which rose at a faster than expected pace. Revised estimated released by Markit Economics showed that the euro area's manufacturing activity contracted at a slightly lesser than expected rate in February. Meanwhile, the U.K.'s manufacturing sector unexpectedly contracted in February, according to Markit's survey. Eurostat reported that the euroarea's unemployment rate rose to a record high of 11.9 percent in January. Annual Inflation eased to 1.8 percent, from 2 percent in January. Economists had expected the rate to ease to 1.9 percent.
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