By RTT News, March 11, 2013, 06:30:00 AM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - Wall Street may be left pausing for a breather after its recent run up, which took the Dow Industrials to a record high and the other major averages to fresh multi-year highs. The index futures point to a lower opening on Monday. At the same time, the breezy domestic recovery that has been confirmed by recent data could help the markets avoid any potential correction. With the economic calendar fairly barren, the markets could see a consolidation move, although they could react to some lukewarm economic data released from Asia and Europe.
As of 6:15 pm ET, the Dow futures are moving down 17 points, while the S&P 500 futures are slipping 2.40 points and the Nasdaq 100 futures are receding 5.25 points.
U.S. stocks advanced strongly in the week ended March 8th, as positive labor market statistics released in the past week increased confidence in the economic recovery, increasing the appeal of risky bets.
With job market turning in encouraging tidings, traders would now turn their attention to the unfolding week's economic data to see if the strength has pervaded into other sectors of the economy as well. The Commerce Department's retail sales report for February, the jobless claims report, the Federal Reserve's industrial production report for February, preliminary consumer sentiment reading based on a survey by Reuters and the University of Michigan for March and the results of the New York Federal Reserve's manufacturing survey are among the closely watched reports of the week.
The producer and consumer price inflation reports for February, the Commerce Department's business inventories report for January, the Treasury budget for February and the results of the Treasury auctions of 3-year and 10-year notes and 30-year bonds round up the economic events of the week.
In corporate news, Nasdaq announced that Kraft Foods ( KRFT ) will become a component of the Nasdaq-100 Index prior to the market open on March 18th, replacing STARZ (STRZA). Piper Jaffray ( PJC ) said it has signed a definitive agreement to sell Fiduciary Asset Management to the unit's CEO Wiley Angell for $4 million.
Avis Budget ( CAR ) and Zipcar ( ZIP ) announced that the U.K. Office of Fair Trading has cleared the acquisition of Zipcar by Avis Budget. Zimmer Holdings ( ZMH ) announced an 11 percent increase in its quarterly dividend.
Casey's General ( CASY ), Chiquita Brands ( CQB ), Diamond Foods ( DMND ), FuelCell Energy ( FCEL ) and Scientific Games ( SGMS ) are among the companies due to release their quarterly results after the close of trading.
The major Asian markets closed on a mixed note, as some lackluster domestic economic data from China and Japan diffused some of the optimism engendered by solid U.S. economic data.
Japan's Nikkei 225 average closed at a fresh multi-year closing high of 12,349, marking the eighth straight session of gains. Financial stocks led the gainers, with Resona Holdings, Shinsei Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial all notching up solid gains. Export stocks also advanced strongly.
Australia's All Ordinaries also opened higher and moved roughly sideways before closing up 36.90 points or 0.72 percent at 5,160. Most sectors, with the exception of material stocks, found buying interest.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed at 23,091, down 1.13 points. Meanwhile, China's Shanghai Composite Index ended 8.02 points or 0.35 percent lower at 2,311 after economic data released from China suggested softness.
On the economic front, China released a slew of economic data pointing toward a pick up in inflationary pressure but cooling economic growth. The National Bureau of Statistics reported that China's annual inflation rose to 3.2 percent in February from 2 percent in January. Economists expected a more modest pick up in inflation to 3 percent. Food prices surged up due to the Lunar New Year holidays and were responsible for much of the upside in consumer prices. Meanwhile, producer price inflation remained stable at 1.6 percent.
At the same time, retail sales for the two-month period ended February were up 12.3 percent, the smallest gain since 2004. Industrial production also rose at a weak pace of 9.9 percent. Data released by the People's Bank of China showed that banks extended new local currency loans of 620 billion yen in February compared to forecasts of 1.07 trillion yen.
Core machinery orders received by Japanese manufacturers fell by 13.1 percent month-over-month in January, according to a report released by the Cabinet Office. Economists expected a more modest decline of 1.7 percent.
European stocks are trading on a lackluster note, as recent gains that have propelled the markets to multi-year highs have rendered the mood cautious. The German DAX is moving down 0.3 percent and France's CAC 40 is losing half a percent, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 is little changed.
On the economic front, German Federal Statistics reported that German exports rose 1.4 percent month-over-month in January, faster than the 0.5 percent increase forecast by economists. The nation's trade surplus rose to 13.7 billion euros from the 12.1 billion euro-surplus reported for the previous month. Economists expected a surplus of 14.4 billion euros.
French statistical office INSEE reported that French industrial output fell 3.5 percent year-over-year in January compared to expectations for a 2.8 percent drop.
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