U.S. equity futures fell in early Thursday trading despite Chinese manufacturing data showing that China's manufacturing sector continued to bottom. The official PMI was released at 50.2 for October, slightly lower than estimates of a 50.3 reading but above the previous reading of 49.8, showing a return to growth. Also, the HSBC Markit China Manufacturing PMI was released at 49.5, better then expectations of a 49.1 reading, which was the same as September's reading, showing that China's manufacturing sector contracted at a slower rate in October.
In other news around the markets:
- The British manufacturing PMI was released at 47.5, below economist estimates of a 48.1 reading and below the previous reading of 48.4.
- Australian commodity prices, a good measure of the strength of exports from the country and also Chinese demand, fell 16 percent in September compared to a year ago, a larger rate of contraction than the 15.7 percent annualized rate of contraction seen in the month prior.
- Barclays (NYSE: BCS ) energy trading unit has been fined once again by regulators, this time for $470 million.
- S&P 500 futures fell 4.9 points to 1,401.90.
- The EUR/USD was lower at 1.2933.
- Spanish 10-year government bond yields were flat at 5.621 percent.
- Italian 10-year government bond yields were lower at 4.932 percent.
- Gold rose 0.19 percent to $1,722.30 per ounce.
Asian shares were mixed in overnight trading as Chinese shares rose on the stronger than expected PMI data. The Japanese Nikkei rose 0.21 percent and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.72 percent while the Hang Seng Index rose 0.83 percent in Hong Kong trading. The Korean Kospi fell 0.71 percent despite stronger than expected domestic PMI data and Australian shares fell 1.31 percent on weak import price and commodity price data.
European shares were also mixed in early Thursday trading as core stocks rose and peripheral shares fell. The Spanish Ibex Index fell 0.49 percent and the Italian MIB Index fell 0.21 percent in Milan. Also, the German DAX rose 0.05 percent while the French CAC fell slightly by 0.03 percent and the U.K. FTSE rose 0.18 percent.
Commodities were mostly higher in early Thursday trading with Brent Crude futures bucking the trend. WTI Crude futures rose 0.1 percent to $86.33 per barrel and Brent Crude futures fell 0.17 percent to $108.51 per barrel. Yesterday, OPEC countries released production data, showing that Iranian oil output has fallen to the lowest rate since 1990, a sign that economic sanctions are hurting. Copper futures rose 0.54 percent to $353.65 despite weak economic data from Australia. Gold was higher and silver futures rose 0.41 percent to $32.45.
Currency markets were in risk-off mode as dollar strength reigned and the euro and the Aussie dollar sold off. The EUR/USD was lower at 1.2933 and the dollar rose against the yen to 79.78. Overall, the Dollar Index rose 0.18 percent on strength against the euro, the yen, the Canadian dollar and the Swiss franc. However, the greenback was weak against the British pound. Also, the Aussie dollar was broadly weak save for against the euro, for against which it gained 0.15 percent.
Stocks moving in the pre-market included:
- Joy Global (NYSE: JOY ) shares rose 0.48 percent pre-market as strength in China boosted the company's price.
- Valero (NYSE: VLO ) shares fell 0.48 percent in pre-market trading despite data showing that energy inventories may have fallen in the past week, meaning there is more demand than anticipated.
- Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) shares fell 0.44 percent pre-market after rising 2.23 percent Wednesday as investors hoped that people suffering from the effects of Sandy would have to shop at home improvement store to rebuild.
- Linkedin (NYSE: LNKD ) shares rose 0.3 percent pre-market ahead of its earnings release.
There are several notable companies expected to report earnings Thursday, including:
- Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE: EPD ) is expected to report third quarter EPS of $0.60 vs. $0.55 a year ago.
- HCA Holdings (NYSE: HCA ) is expected to report third quarter EPS of $0.79 vs. $0.60 a year ago.
- Linkedin (NYSE: LNKD ) is expected to report third quarter EPS of $0.11 vs. $0.06 a year ago.
- Marathon Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: MPC ) is expected to report third quarter EPS of $3.24 vs. $3.16 a year ago.
- ON Semiconductor (NASDAQ: ONNN ) is expected to report third quarter EPS of $0.14 vs. $0.24 a year ago.
- Priceline Inc. (NASDAQ: PCLN ) is expected to report third quarter EPS of $11.81 vs. $9.95 a year ago.
- Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX ) is expected to report fourth quarter EPS of $0.45 vs. $0.37 a year ago.
On the economic calendar Thursday, lots of economic data is due out ahead of Friday's Non-Farm Payroll report. Challenger Job Cuts, ADP Employment, Initial Jobless Claims, and the ISM Manufacturing Index will give light on the state of the employment market in the U.S. Also, the ISM and the Markit U.S. PMI are due out along with construction spending and consumer confidence which will all give insight into the state of the broad economy. Lastly, motor vehicle sales and chain store sales are expected. Investors will also get information on the state of monetary policy in the U.S. as the Fed's Eric Rosengren and Dennis Lockhart are scheduled to speak.
Good luck and good trading.
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