After a brief pull-back following a greater-than-expected drop in initial jobless claims, stock futures remain buoyant with last night's downbeat Chinese and European manufacturing data barely putting a dent in the bullish mood across Wall Street.
Yesterday's FOMC minutes coupled with expectations for market-friendly comments coming out of the annual central bank conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo, is underpinning U.S. equities. Wall Street is looking to Fed Chair Janet Yellen to calm any recent worries about higher U.S. rates with conciliatory remarks concerning labor market slack and benign inflationary pressures. And, if today's economic data is not outside of estimates, the S&P 500 is expected to post another record high and the Nasdaq projected to advance above Wednesday's 14-year high of 4533.
The remaining economic data includes the purchasing managers flash manufacturing index for August, expected to drop to 55.7 from 55.8. The Philly Fed manufacturing index is forecast to drop to 20.0 from July's 23.9, existing home sales will drop slightly to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 5.00 million versus 5.04 million in June, while leading economic indicators will rise 0.6% from +0.3% in July.
European markets were generally bullish in spite of a decline in the Chinese PMI manufacturing index. The corresponding index for the EU-zone also contracted by more than expected with France and Germany also showing similar declines in production. UK retail sales showed a very modest improvement, but missed estimates for a 0.4% gain. Although the Chinese data caused the Shanghei index to close in the red, European indices are all holding onto modest gains.
In corporate news, Family Dollar ( FDO ) has rejected Dollar General's ( DG ) $9 billion offer, favoring instead the inferior $8.5 billion offer made by Dollar Tree ( DLTR ). Rumors that Family Dollar CEO wants to remain head of the joined companies is reportedly behind the decision to go with Dollar Tree.
-Dow Jones Industrial up 0.21%
-S&P 500 futures up 0.16%
-Nasdaq 100 futures up 0.11%
Nikkei up 0.85%
Hang Seng up/down xxx%
Shanghai Composite down 0.66%
FTSE-100 up 0.27%
DAX-30 up 0.60%
PRE-MARKET SECTOR WATCH
(+/-) Large cap tech: Mixed
(+) Chip stocks: Higher
(+) Software stocks: Higher
(+/-) Hardware stocks: Mixed
(+/-) Internet stocks: Mixed
(+/-) Drug stocks: Mixed
(+) Financial stocks: Higher
(+) Retail stocks: Higher
(+) Industrial stocks: Higher
(+) Airlines: Higher
(+/-) Autos Flat
(+) BLRX (+2.86%) Received patent notice for BL-7010
(+) AUXL (+2.98%) Reports positive results in cellulite treatment study
(+) HRL (+4.18%) Reported better than expected Q2 results
(-) AMPE (-19.44%) Osteoarthritis drug mishandled by supplier during recent trial
(-) WUBA (-9.27%) Guides Q3 revenue below street view
(-) SSI (-6.76%) Reported downbeat Q2 results and lowered FY 2015 forecast
(-) SHLD (-2.64%) Missed earnings and revenue estimates
(-) KIN (-27.87%) Study of CereKin (KB010) did not meet primary endpoint
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