Sentiment on Wall Street seems to have improved on Tuesday after yesterday's mixed performance. The positive mood is likely to be sustained, as Spain raised debt above its maximum planned target and a German economic sentiment data unexpectedly improved. Nevertheless, the Spanish borrowing costs nearly doubled. The U.S. housing starts and the industrial production report, both due for release before the markets open, and the earnings deluge may give further direction to the markets.
As of 6:30 am ET, the Dow futures are rising 45 points and the S&P 500 futures are adding 6.10 points, while the Nasdaq 100 futures are moving up 8.50 points.
U.S. stocks scrambled to a mixed close on Monday amid the release of mixed economic data.
On the economic front, a report on housing starts and building permits is slated to be released at 8:30 am ET. Economists estimate housing starts for March to come in at 700,000 each, while building permits are expected to have declined to 713,000. In February, housing starts and building permits came in at 698,000 and 717,000, respectively.
The Federal Reserve's industrial production report is due out at 9:15 am ET. Economists estimate 0.3 percent growth in industrial production for March, while manufacturing output growth is also estimated at 0.3 percent. Capacity utilization may have edged down slightly to 78.6 percent.
Brown & Brown (BRO) announced preliminary first quarter results, expecting earnings of 34 cents per share compared to 32 cents per share last year, as net sales climbed 15.4 percent to $302.49 million. The results exceeded estimates.
Lincare Holdings (LNCR) reported first quarter earnings of 54 cents per share, higher than 49 cents per share in the year-ago period. Net revenues rose 16 percent to $500.9 million. The results were better than expected.
Arqule (ARQL) announced the completion of its previously announced public offering of 8.22 million shares of its common stock at $7.30 per share. The company noted that it received net proceeds of about $56 million from the offering.
ICU Medical's (ICUI) first quarter results were better than expected, while its full year guidance surrounded the consensus estimates.
Coca-Cola (KO), Comerica (CMA), Forest Labs (FRX), Goldman Sachs (GS), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), McMoran Exploration (MMR), Northern Trust (NTRS), State Street (STT), TD Ameritrade (AMTD), U.S. Bancorp. (USB) and W.W. Graigner (GWW) are due to report their quarterly earnings before the markets open.
Cree (CREE), CSX (CSX), Fulton Financial (FULT), IBM (IBM), Intel (INTC), Intuitive Surgical (ISRG), Linear Technology (LLTC), Packaging Corp. of America (PKG), Seagate Technology (STX), Stanley Furniture (STLY), Stryker (SYK), United Rentals (URI) and Yahoo (YHOO) are among the companies due for releasing their quarter results after the markets close.
Asian stocks ended mostly lower, as traders adopted a cautious stance ahead of the Spanish debt auction and in reaction to mostly negative economic data out of the U.S. overnight.
Japan's Nikkei 225 average showed volatility in the afternoon after being higher for much of the morning. The index closed down 5.93 points or 0.06 percent at 9,465. Australia's All Ordinaries ended at 4,369, down 13.70 points or 0.31 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng receded 47.78 points or 0.23 percent before closing at 20,563. The Chinese Shanghai Composite Index lost close to 1 percent.
Meanwhile, the Indian market advanced after the central bank of the country lowered interest rates by a bigger than expected 50 basis points, citing slowing growth. This was the first rate reduction in 3 years.
After a nervous start, the major European averages have all moved higher. The French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are rising 1.6 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is adding 0.8 percent.
On the economic front, the debt offering by Spain produced mixed results, with the nation selling 3.1 billion euros of treasury bills compared to its 3 billion-euro target. The bid-to-cover ratio was higher than previous auction, while yields were higher than at the previous auction.
The Zew Institute's survey showed that German economic sentiment improved in April, with the corresponding indicator rising to 23.4 in April from 22.3 in March. Economists expected a decline in the index to 19.
Risk currencies have reversed course and are seen gaining ground and commodities are also trading higher.
by RTT Staff Writer
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