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Wall Street Picks Up Confidence Ahead Of Reporting Season

Wall Street Picks Up Confidence Ahead Of Reporting Season

Negative sentiment generated by the government jobs report has ceased and cautious optimism seems to be dawning on Wall Street, as indicated by the index futures, which point to a modestly higher opening. The markets look ahead to the unofficial start of the first quarter reporting season, as Alcoa (AA) prepares to unveil its quarterly results after the markets close.The aluminum maker is expected to report a loss of 4 cents per share on revenues of $5.77 billion, down 3.20 percent year-over-year.

As of 6:30 am ET, the Dow futures are rising 21 points and the S&P 500 futures are adding 2.40 points, while the Nasdaq 100 futures are moving up 7.25 points.

U.S. stocks tumbled on Monday in reaction to a report showing weaker than expected job growth in March. Job jitters kept sentiment subdued for much of the session before the major averages closed notably lower.

On the economic front, the Commerce Department is due to release its wholesale inventories report at 10 am ET. Economists expect wholesale inventories at the end of February to show a 0.6 percent increase following a 0.4 percent increase in the previous month.

Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren is due to speak at the Atlanta Fed conference in Stone Mountain, Georgia at 10:30 am ET. Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Naryana Kocherlakota is scheduled to speak to the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation at 12:15 pm ET.

Additionally Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Dennis Lockhart is due to deliver the opening remarks at Atlanta Fed conference on "Financial Reform: The Devil's in the Details" at 12:45 pm ET.

In corporate news, EpiCept (EPCT) said the FDA has granted Fast Track designation for its neuropathic pain treatment AmiKet.

Marathon Oil (MRO) said it has agreed to sell substantially all of its Alaska assets to Hilcorp Alaska.

Flextronics (FLEX) said it has completed its previously announced acquisition of Stellar Microelectronics.

Facebook announced a deal to buy mobile-only photo sharing application Instagram for $1 billion.

The major Asian markets ended mostly lower, with the Japanese, Hong Kong, Australian and South Korean markets closing lower, while the Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, Singaporean and New Zealand markets ended in positive territory.

After rebounding in early trading, Japan's Nikkei 225 average retreated in the afternoon, disappointed by the fact that the central bank did not announce any augmentation in asset repurchases. The index closed down 8.24 points or 0.09 percent at 9,538, declining for the sixth straight session.

After the markets closed, Sony (SNE) forecast a wider than expected loss of $6.4 billion for the fiscal year ended March. That said, the company expects to report an operating profit of 180 billion yen in the current fiscal year.

Australia's All Ordinaries closed down 28.60 points or 0.65 percent at 4,374 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed at 20,356, down 236.76 points or 1.15 percent. Meanwhile, China's Shanghai Composite Index added 20.09 points or 0.88 percent before closing at 2,306. The Chinese Customs Office reported that the nation's trade balance was a surplus of $5.35 billion in March, defying forecasts for a deficit of $3.15 billion.

The major European markets, which opened after Easter holidays, played a catch up to yesterday's losses in the rest of the global markets in the wake of anemic job additions by the U.S. economy in March.

The French CAC 40 Index is receding 1.14 percent and the German DAX Index is slipping 0.89 percent, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is declining 0.91 percent. Technology, automakers and resource stocks are among the biggest decliners of the session.

Trade data released from Germany showed that German exports unexpectedly increased in February, resulting in a higher surplus for the month. INSEE reported that French industrial output rose a seasonally and working day adjusted 0.3 percent in February compared to the previous month. That said, manufacturing output fell 1.2 percent.

An index measuring investor sentiment in the eurozone deteriorated in April, with the corresponding index coming in at -14.7 compared to -8.2 in March. Economists expected a more modest deterioration to -9.1.

by RTT Staff Writer

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