Wall Street seems to have discounted all negative tidings and in the process, the U.S. index futures point to a modestly higher opening on Thursday. The firmer sentiment has come despite the release of some disappointing economic reading from across the Atlantic. The focus now shifts to Main Street, which boasts of two key first-tier economic readings, including the jobless claims and the durables goods orders data. Commodities are firming up and most risk currencies are higher, barring the euro, which is trading at a near 2-year low.
As of 6:30 am ET, the Dow futures are rising 34 point and the S&P 500 futures are up 4.90 points, while the Nasdaq 100 futures are gaining 8.75 points.
Despite languishing below the unchanged line for much of Wednesday's session, U.S. stocks pared back their gains in late trading to close mixed. The mixed close came, as traders looked ahead to the outcome of an informal meeting scheduled among the European leaders.
On the economic front, the Commerce Department is set to release its durable goods orders report at 8:30 am ET. Economists expect a 0.5 percent increase in durable goods orders for April. Excluding transportation, orders may have risen 0.7 percent. In March, durable goods orders fell 4 percent month-over-month.
Additionally, the Labor Department is due to release its customary jobless claims report for the week ended May 19th at 8:30 am ET. Economists expect claims to edge up to 371,000 in the recent reporting week from 370,000 in the previous week.
In corporate news, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) reported second quarter non-GAAP earnings of 98 cents on net revenues of $30.7 billion. The results were ahead of estimates. The company also announced a multi-year restructuring program, which also includes the elimination of 27,000 jobs. The third quarter guidance was soft, while the full year earnings guidance was above the consensus estimate.
PVH's (PVH) first quarter results were ahead of estimates. The company raised its full year non-GAAP earnings to $6.15-$6.25 per share on 1-2 percent revenue growth to $5.89 billion. The guidance was fairly upbeat.
Synopsys (SNPS) announced that its Chairman and CEO Aart de Geus and President and COO Chi-Foon will become co-CEOs, effective immediately. Separately, the company reported second quarter non-GAAP earnings that missed estimates, while its revenues were above estimate. The company's third quarter and full year guidance was robust.
H&R Block (HRB) announced the appointment of Gregort Macfarlane as its CEO, effective June 4th.
NetApp (NTAP) reported fourth quarter non-GAAP net income of 66 cents per share, higher than 59 cents in the year-ago period. Revenues rose 19 percent to $1.70 billion. For the first quarter, the company expects revenues of $1.40 billion to $1.50 billion and non-GAAP earnings of 34-39 cents per share. The results were better than expected, while its guidance was bleak.
Costco (COST) reported better than expected third quarter results, while its revenues were slightly shy of estimates.
Semtech (SMTC) and Verifone (PAY) are the companies due to report their quarterly results after the markets close.
The major Asian markets closed on a mixed note, with the optimism generated by the late session strength on Wall Street cut short by a bleak reading on the Chinese manufacturing sector.
A survey done by Markit Economics and HSBC showed that the Chinese manufacturing sector contracted at a faster rate in May, dragged down by the slacker exports. The headline purchasing managers' index fell to 0.6 points to 48.7 in May.
Japan's Nikkei 225 average closed up 6.78 points or 0.08 percent at 8,563. After holding above the unchanged line in the morning, Australia's All Ordinaries declined steadily, ending the day down 12.60 points or 0.31 percent at 4,106.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index spent the better part of the session before the unchanged line before closing down 119.79 points or 0.64 percent at 18,666.
The major European markets have recovered after seeing an early session collapse following the release of lackluster private sector activity readings for the eurozone.
The informal meeting of European leaders did not arrive at any concrete action plan for emancipating the troubled region. The meeting merely prepared the ground for decisions in June, with the members reiterating that they want Greece to remain the eurozone.
A survey by Markit Economics showed that the eurozone's private sector activity contracted for the fourth straight month. The composite purchasing managers' index fell to 45.9 in May from 46.7 in April, with May's reading the lowest since June 2009, when the economy was in a recession.
The Ifo Institute's business confidence index for Germany fell to 106.9 in May from 109.9 in April, according to a survey. The setback was blamed on the uncertainty plaguing the eurozone region, especially in the wake of the political impasse in Greece that has threatened the ouster of Greece from the eurozone.
by RTT Staff Writer
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