Stimulus measures, both announced and anticipated, have set in motion a wave of buying in the global markets and Wall Street seems to be no exception. The U.S. index futures point to a modestly higher opening on Friday ahead of several key risk events. The New York session is set to witness the release of first-tier U.S. economic data on manufacturing, industrial production and consumer sentiment.
Further ahead on Sunday, the make or break Greek elections are due and the results would not only have ramification for the domestic economy but for the eurozone as a whole. A 2-day meeting of G20 leaders beginning Monday in Mexico and the U.S. FOMC meeting would follow the elections. Commodities are higher, while risk currencies have given up their early gains.
As of 6:30 am ET, the Dow futures are up 31 points and the S&P 500 futures are adding 2.20 points, while the Nasdaq 100 futures are gaining 7.25 points.
U.S. stocks advanced on Thursday despite the encircling economic gloom, as traders bid up stocks on stimulus hopes.
On the economic front, the results of the New York Federal Reserve's empire state manufacturing survey is slated to be released at 8:30 am ET. The headline general business conditions index for June is expected to come in at 13.8 compared to 17.09 in May.
The Federal Reserve's industrial production report is due out at 9:15 am ET. Economists estimate flat industrial production performance for May, while manufacturing output is estimated to have declined by 0.3 percent.
Additionally, the preliminary report of the Reuters/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment survey for May is scheduled to be released at 9.55 am ET. The consumer sentiment index is expected to have declined to 77.5 from 79.3 in the previous month.
In corporate news, AAR Corp. (AIR) announced preliminary fourth quarter results, expecting adjusted earnings of 44-46 cents per share on revenues of $560 million to $565 million. After some special items, the company expects earnings of 30-32 cents per share. The earnings guidance was below estimates, while revenues guidance exceeded estimates.
DTE Energy (DTE) announced a 5.5 percent increase in its quarterly dividend to 62 cents per share. Nordson (NDSN) announced the completion of its acquisition of Wisconsin-based EDI Holdings, a maker of slot coating and flat polymer extrusion dies for plastic processors and web converters.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced that the FDA has approved its combination vaccine MenHibrix to help prevent meningococcal serogroups C and Y and Hib disease.
The major Asian markets advanced, as rumors about additional stimulus measures by central banks and governments gained ground. The Bank of England the U.K. government made a pre-emptive move in announcing measures to boost the credit and financial markets.
Japan's Nikkei 225 average went about a volatile run, moving back and forth across the unchanged line before closing up merely 0.43 points or 0.01 percent at 8,569.
After some initial volatility, Australia's All Ordinaries moved decisively into positive territory in late morning trading. Thereafter, the index continued to hover in positive territory, closing up 17.20 points or 0.42 percent at 4,107.
Hong Kong's Hong Seng Index closed 425.54 points or 2.26 percent higher at 19,234. After the markets closed, Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. said it made a recommended offer to buy the London Metal Exchange for 1.39 billion pounds in cash.
The Bank of Japan announced no change in its policy stance following the conclusion of a 2-day monetary policy meeting. The size of asset purchase program was also kept unchanged. The central bank noted that the domestic economic recovery has been strengthening in recent months.
The major European markets are also advancing, with UK's announcement cementing hopes concerning stimulus. Steel makers and banks are leading the advances in the region, with only some defensive stocks moving to the downside.
In corporate news, Swedish retailer H&M reported that its total sales, including VAT, increased by 12 percent year-over-year in May. Comparable unit sales were up by 3 percent. U.K. power company Aggreko is down over 4 percent on the LSE after it said it expects underlying group revenues to grow by around 15 percent, slower than the 20 percent growth in the first quarter.
On the economic front, U.K. reported a wider trade deficit for April, while the euro area's trade surplus reduced. Late Thursday, Moody's downgraded its ratings on 5 Dutch banks, including ING. Meanwhile, the U.K. government and the Bank of England announced new monetary policy measures to ease the tightness in the credit and financial markets.
Acknowledging the need for need for further quantitative easing, the central bank decided to activate a 6-month liquidity facility offering loans at below-market rates to banks in exchange for a wide range of collateral. Additionally a new lending for funding scheme is to be launched to offer an estimated 80 billion pounds of long-term loans in exchange for lending commitments, indemnified by the government.
by RTT Staff Writer
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