Futures Rise as Leaders Pledge to Resume Budget Talks
U.S. equity futures rose slightly in thin overnight trade as President Obama pledged to resume talks over avoiding the Fiscal Cliff as soon as leaders returned to session after the Christmas break. Earlier this week, it seemed unlikely that any deal would be reached as the sides were vastly different in their approaches to fiscal reform and were not communicating well following the failed Plan B in the House.
In other news around the markets:
- Volkswagen AG ( VLKAY ) and General Motors (NYSE: GM ) are set to see market share gains in the domestic Chinese market in 2013 as territorial disputes weaken the market power of Japanese makers such as Honda Motor Corp (NYSE: HMC ) and Toyota Motors (NYSE: TM ).
- Despite most markets being closed on Christmas day, the interbank forex markets were open and the GBP/USD cross flash crashed yesterday, dropping from 1.6140 to 1.5899 before retracing the entire move downwards.
- S&P 500 futures rose 2 points to 1,421.75.
- The EUR/USD was higher at 1.3212.
- Spanish 10-year government bond yields were unchanged at 5.257 percent.
- Italian 10-year government bond yields were unchanged at 4.464 percent.
- Gold fell 0.2 percent to $1,656.10 per ounce.
Asian shares rose in thin overnight trade on renewed hopes that some sort of deal can be reached in Washington to avoid the Fiscal Cliff and on the dovish Bank of Japan minutes released overnight. The Japanese Nikkei Index rose 1.49 percent on new hopes of easing while the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.25 percent and the Hang Seng Index gained 0.16 percent. In addition, the Korean Kospi Index rose 0.02 percent and Australian shares gained 0.25 percent.
European markets were closed on Wednesday in observance of Boxing Day.
Commodities were were mixed overnight with energy futures rising and precious metals lagging. WTI Crude futures gained 0.59 percent to $89.13 per barrel and Brent Crude futures gained 0.75 percent to $109.62 per barrel. Copper futures gained 0.61 percent, rising to $356.75, on hopes that renewed stimulus in Japan will boost growth and copper demand. Gold was lower and silver futures were flat at $29.90 per ounce.
Currency markets had a slight risk-on tone overnight in very thin trade as the large European market remained closed. The EUR/USD was higher at 1.3212 and the dollar gained demonstrably against the yen, rising 0.76 percent to 85.41. Overall, the Dollar Index fell 0.08 percent on weakness against the euro, the Swiss franc, and the Swedish krone, and strength against the yen off-setting this weakness. In addition, the Australian dollar rose against the greenback with copper prices and was even stronger against the yen.
No notable companies are expected to report earnings Wednesday.
On the economics calendar Wednesday, Same Store Sales and the Redbook are due out and will shed light on retail sales over the holiday week. Later, the Case-Shiller Home Price Index is due out and the Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index and Investor Sentiment are also expected. In addition, the Treasury is set to auction 4-week, 3-month, and 6-month bills.
Good luck and good trading.
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