By RTT News,
January 17, 2014, 06:34:00 AM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - Wall Street sentiment is once again bordering on being cautious, as indicated by the U.S. index futures, which point to a slightly higher opening on Friday. Earlier in the global trading day, Asian stocks ended mostly lower, while the European markets are holding up. Some key financial earnings and data on housing starts, industrial production and consumer sentiment may set the tone for trading in the domestic markets.
At 6:15 am ET, the Dow futures are rising 34 points, the S&P 500 futures are adding 4.50 points and the Nasdaq 100 futures are advancing 3.80 points.
U.S. stocks had a lackluster outing on Thursday, as traders digested mixed earnings and economic data, before closing mixed.
On the economic front, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release its housing starts report for December at 8:30 am ET. Economists estimate housing starts to come in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 985,000 units, while building permits for the month are expected at 1.015 million units.
The Federal Reserve is due to release its industrial production report for December at 9:15 am ET. The consensus estimates call for industrial production growth of 0.3 percent month-over-month in December. Additionally, capacity utilization is expected to be at 79.1 percent.
Reuters and the University of Michigan are scheduled to release the results of their preliminary consumer sentiment survey for January at 9:55 am ET. Economists expect the consumer sentiment index for the month to increase to 83.5 from 82.5 in December. Richmond Federal Reserve Bank PresidentÂ Jeffrey LackerÂ will speak on the economic outlook in Richmond at 12:30 pm ET.
In corporate news, Intel ( INTC ) reported fourth quarter earnings that missed estimates, while its revenues were ahead of estimates. The company now expects revenues of $12.8 billion, plus or minus $500 million for the first quarter, surrounding the consensus estimate of $12.79 billion. The full year revenue guidance for flat revenues was shy of estimate.
American Express ( AXP ) reported fourth quarter adjusted earnings of $1.25 per share on net revenues of $8.55 billion, down 5 percent year-over-year. The results were in line. Capital One Financial ( COF ) reported fourth quarter net income of $1.45 per share, up from $1.41 per share last year. Total net revenue fell to $5.54 billion from $5.62 billion. The earnings trailed expectations, while the revenues were ahead of estimates.
Sallie Mae (SLM) reported fourth quarter core earnings rose to 61 cents per share from 55 cents per share. The earnings trailed expectations. The company said it expects its previously announced separation of its consumer banking and education loan management operations into two distinct businesses to be achieved in the first half of 2014.
Schlumberger (SLB) announced that the board has approved a 28 percent increase in its quarterly dividend. Devon Energy ( DVN ) announced the appointment of Thomas Mitchell as its executive VP and CFO, replacing Jeff Agosta, who is leaving to pursue other interests.
Most Asian markets retreated, as the tentative performance by Wall Street overnight rendered the mood cautious. The impending release of some key U.S. economic data and the reporting season underway in the U.S. also stifled risk appetite.
Japan's Nikkei 225 average ended down 12.74 points or 0.08 percent at 15,734. Technology exporters, chemical, electric utility, insurance and construction stocks moved to the downside, while retail, utility, pharma and real estate stocks retreated. Australia's All Ordinaries languished below the unchanged line for the bulk of the session, although it cut some of its mid-session losses but still closed 3 points or 0.06 percent lower at 5,316.
China's Shanghai Composite Index fell 18.75 points or 0.93 percent before closing at 2,005 amid caution ahead of some key domestic data, including GDP due to be released next Monday. Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed up 146.94 points or 0.64 percent at 23,133.
On the economic front, a report released by Japan's Cabinet Office showed that consumer confidence in Japan unexpectedly deteriorated in December. The consumer sentiment index fell to 41.3 in December from 42.5 in November. Economists expect the index to have risen to 43.
Meanwhile, the Japanese government upwardly revised its assessment of the economy for the first time in four months as the recovery picked up, reflecting improvement in household income and business investment. The government said the economy is recovering at a moderate pace, an upgrade from its previous view that the economy is in the process of recovery at a moderate pace.
European stocks opened higher and saw some volatility in early trading. The major averages in the region are currently holding above the unchanged line, as traders react to a warning by Shell and await some key U.S. data.
In corporate news, Shell said it expects its fourth quarter earnings to be significantly lower than its recent levels of profitability.
On the economic front, the latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed that U.K. retail sales, including auto fuel, increased 2.6 percent month-over-month in December, notably faster than the 0.3 percent growth expected.
Eurozone construction output shrunk for the third consecutive month in November, data released by the statistical office Eurostat showed. Output declined 0.6 percent sequentially following the 1.1 percent fall in October, which was revised from a 1.2 percent fall reported initially.
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