Wall Street Getting Positive About Jobs
(RTTNews.com) - Wall Street's optimism concerning the jobs market has increased, thanks to the recent run of positive labor market statistics. The exuberance concerning the labor market is reflected in the trading in the index futures, which are pointing to a higher opening on Friday. Asian stocks closed mostly higher, as Wall Street's rally along with Chinese trade data and Japan GDP data lent support. If the non-farm payrolls report shows fairly decent job gains, in line with the recent trend, the markets could witness consolidation around current elevated levels.
As of 6:15 pm ET, the Dow futures are moving up 45 points, while the S&P 500 futures are adding 4.90 points and the Nasdaq 100 futures are rising 7 points.
U.S. stocks continued to be the beneficiary of positive economic evidence and advanced further into overbought territory on Thursday.
On the economic front, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its non-farm payrolls report for February at 8:30 am ET. Economists estimate that the economy added 171,000 jobs in the month, faster than the 157,000 pace witnessed in January. The unemployment rate may have edged down to 7.8 percent.
The Commerce Department will release its wholesale inventories report for January at 10 am ET. The consensus estimates call for a 0.4 percent increase in wholesale inventories compared to a 0.1 percent drop in the previous month.
Federal Reserve Governor Elizabeth Duke is due to speak on housing and mortgage markets to MBA in Avon, Colorado at 8 pm ET.
In corporate news, Texas Instruments (TXN) narrowed its first quarter revenue guidance to $2.80 billion to $2.91 billion from its previous guidance of $2.69 billion to $2.91 billion. The earnings guidance is also narrowed to 28-32 cents per share. Analysts estimate earnings of 31 cents per share on revenues of $2.80 billion.
Thor Industries (THO) reported second quarter earnings of 37 cents per share on sales of $741.6 million. In the year-ago period, the company reported earnings of 25 cents per share on revenues of $597 million. The earnings missed estimates, while the revenues were ahead of expectations.
Cooper Companies (COO) reported first quarter non-GAAP earnings of $1.23 per share on revenues of $379.8 million, up 16 percent year-over-year. The company revised its 2013 guidance, raising the low end of its earnings and revenue guidance. The company currently estimates non-GAAP earnings of $5.95-$6.10 per share on revenues of $1.575 billion to $1.625 billion. The results beat estimates and the guidance was in line.
H&R Block (HRB) said its U.S. tax volume through February 28th fell 5.8 percent. The company also reported a wider loss for its third quarter. On an adjusted basis, the company reported a loss of 22 cents per share on revenues of $472 million. The results trailed expectations.
Quiksilver (ZQK) reported first quarter pro forma loss of 16 cents per share compared to a loss of 12 cents per share last year. Net revenues fell 3 percent to $186 million. The results were below estimates.
Finisar (FNSR) reported third quarter adjusted earnings and revenues that exceeded estimates. The company's fourth quarter guidance was in line.
Integrated Device Technology (IDTI) said it has transferred the assets and design team of its smart metering IC product lines to Atmel (ATML) in all cash transaction. The company did not reveal the terms of the deal.
Most Asian stocks advanced, helped by the buoyancy on Wall Street overnight and positive domestic economic data on Chinese trade and Japan GDP. The Chinese and Singaporean markets bucked the uptrend, declining modestly in the session.
Japan's Nikkei 225 average opened higher and advanced steadily and settled up 315.54 points or 2.64 percent at a fresh 53-month high of 12,284. The market benefited from a weaker yen, as expectations concerning additional policy easing are gaining ground as the leadership transition at the Bank of Japan is set to take place.
Australia's All Ordinaries closed 14.40 points or 0.28 percent higher at 5,138. Most sectors, with the exception of telecom and real estate stocks, moved higher. Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed at 23,135, up 363.91 points or 1.60 percent.
On the economic front, the Chinese General Administration of Customs reported that Chinese trade surplus fell to $15.25 billion in February from a surplus of $29.15 billion in January. Economists expected a deficit of $6.9 billion. Exports rose 21.8 percent year-over-year, faster than the 8.1 percent increase expected by economists, while imports fell a steeper than expected 15.2 percent.
Revised estimates released by Japan's Cabinet Office showed that the Japanese economy stagnated in the fourth quarter, upwardly revised from the 0.1 percent contraction estimated initially. Annually, GDP rose 0.2 percent, in line with estimates. At the same time, a report released by Japan'sMinistry of Finance showed a trade deficit of 1,479.3 billion yen compared to the 1,512.3 billion yen shortfall estimated by economists. The current account balance showed a deficit of 364.8 billion yen.
European stocks are broadly higher, heading for their biggest weekly gain since January, as investors look ahead to the U.S. non-farm payrolls report. France's CAC 40 is gaining 0.9 percent and the FTSE 100 of the U.K. is rising 0.4 percent, while benchmark indexes in Germany and Switzerland are up about 0.6 percent each.
In economic news, German industrial output unexpectedly stagnated in January compared with the previous month, data released by the Economy Ministry showed, falling short of expectations for a small increase. Output was unchanged against expectations for a 0.4 percent increase. On a yearly basis, industrial production slipped by working-day adjusted 1.3 percent, sharper than the 0.5 percent fall seen in the previous month.
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