Wall Street seems to be on a damage limiting exercise on Wednesday, thanks to stellar quarterly results reported by aluminum giant Alcoa (AA). The company posted an unexpected profit for its first quarter, reinforcing the strength of corporate earnings. Traders may also stay focused on the Federal Reserve's Beige Book to glean clues on economic conditions. Meanwhile, a debt auction by Italy did not produce encouraging results, highlighting the precarious fiscal scenario in Europe.
As of 6:30 am ET, the Dow futures are rising 81 points and the S&P 500 futures are adding 10.60 points, while the Nasdaq 100 futures are moving up 17.25 points.
U.S. succumbed to European debt fears and slumped on Tuesday, with the Dow Industrials and the S&P 500 Index declining for the fifth straight session.
On the economic front, the Federal Reserve is due to release its Beige Book, a compilation of anecdotal evidence on economic conditions from each of the 12 Federal Reserve districts, at 2 PM ET.
The export & import price indexes for February are due out at 8:30 am ET. The consensus estimates call for a 1 percent month-over-month increase in import prices and a 0.3 percent increase in export prices.
The Energy Information Administration is scheduled to release its weekly petroleum inventory report for the week ended April 6th at 10:30 AM ET.
A host of Fed speeches are also scheduled for the day. Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhart will deliver more welcoming remarks at the Atlanta Fed conference at 8:20 am ET. Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Esther George will speak to the 21st Annual Hyman P. Minsky Conference on Debt, Deficits and Financial Instability at 9:30 am ET.
Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren is also scheduled to speak at the Atlanta Fed's Financial Markets Conference, chairing a discussion of Money Market Mutual Funds at 10:30 am ET.
St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard is due to deliver opening remarks at the Homer Jones Memorial Lecture, at the Federal Reserve in St. Louis at 4 pm ET. Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen will speak to the New York University Money Marketeers on "The Economic Outlook and Monetary Policy" at 7:30 pm ET.
Additionally, the Treasury Budget, a monthly account of the surplus or deficit of the federal government, is due to be released at 2 PM ET. Economists expect a deficit of $188.7 billion for March compared to a deficit of $231.7 billion for February.
In corporate news, Alcoa reported first quarter adjusted income from continuing operations of 9 cents per share compared to the 10 cents per share last year, as revenues rose to $6 billion from the year-ago quarter's $5.96 billion. The results were better than expected. Alcoa also raised its 2012 global growth forecast for the aerospace market by 3 percentage points, while it reaffirmed its aluminum demand growth projection of 7 percent. Additionally, the company sees a supply deficit in 2012.
Yahoo (YHOO) under its new CEO Scott Thompson announced reorganization, with the company striving to refocus on three growth areas, namely "consumer, regions and technology."
ADTRAN (ADTN) reported first quarter non-GAAP earnings of 25 cents per share compared to the 55 cents per share last year. Sales were $134.74 million, lower than $165.52 million in the year-ago quarter. The results were better than expected.
JDA Software (JDAS) said its board has determined that the company's quarterly and annual results for the period between fiscal year 2008 and fiscal year 2011 should be restated following an ongoing review of its revenue recognition policies.
Chevron (CVX) said in its interim update that earnings for the first quarter 2012 are expected to be higher than fourth quarter.
The major Asian markets extended their losses, as the steep sell-off on Wall Street and Europe overnight impacted market mood.
The Japanese markets retreated for the seventh straight session, with the Nikkei 225 average languishing in red throughout the session. The index closed down 79.28 points or 0.83 percent at 9,459. Apart of the global cues, sentiment was also hit by profit warnings issued by technology giants Sharp and Sony yesterday after the Japanese markets closed. The yen's strength also weighed on export stocks.
Australia's All Ordinaries closed down 46.40 points or 1.06 percent at 4,327 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended at 20,141, down 215.57 points or 1.06 percent.
The major European markets are trading higher, rebounding from the previous session's losses. The French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are rising over 1 percent each, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is gaining about 0.30 percent.
A debt auction by Italy did not go very well, as the Italian Treasury sold 11 billion euros worth of 3-month and 12-month bills at yields notably higher than what it paid last month.
Oil futures are rebounding from a 2-week low, while gold is seeing a pull back, while risk currencies are all firming up.
by RTT Staff Writer
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