Wall Street's nervousness is palpable, especially in the wake of additional evidence that that the domestic economy may be caving in. Things have fallen silent on the European debt front due to a lack of any immediate catalysts to look forward to. The focus now shifts to a couple of key central bank decisions across the Atlantic, with traders expecting both the European Central Bank and the Bank of England to dole out stimulus. Trading activity may remain subdued due to the Independence Day holiday on Wednesday and due to apprehension ahead of jobs reports due on Thursday and Friday.
As of 6:50 am ET, the Dow futures are slipping 10 points and the S&P 500 futures are edging down 0.90 points, while the Nasdaq 100 futures are moving up 2 points.
After showing lackluster sentiment for much of Monday's session, U.S. stocks closed on a mixed note, as stimulus hopes triggered some buying in late trading after a domestic manufacturing survey pointed toward contraction of the sector in June.
On the economic front, the Commerce Department is due to release its report on factory goods orders for May at 10 am ET. Economists estimate a 0.1 percent increase in orders for factory goods following a 0.6 percent drop in the previous month.
Individual automakers are scheduled to release their monthly U.S. sales results for June. Economists expect domestic vehicle sales of 13.9 million for June, up from 13.8 million last month.
In corporate news, Avnet (AVT) announced the acquisition of electromechanical components distributor Altron GmbH & Co. Altron generated revenues of $30 million in 2011.
Microsoft (MSFT) announced that it would take a non-cash non-tax-deductible income statement charge for the impairment of good will amounting to $6.2 billion related to its 2007 acquisition of aQuantive. The company expects to record the charge in the fourth quarter.
Men's Wearhouse (MW) announced that its CFO Neill Davis has communicated his intention to leave the company on August 2nd. Diana Wilson, serving as an executive VP, will serve as the interim CEO.
Boeing (BA) said in its 2012 current market outlook that it forecasts a $4.5 trillion market for 34,000 new airplanes over the next 20 years. The company expects world fleet to double in size in the timeframe.
The major Asian markets, with the exception of the Australian market, closed higher, as stimulus hopes strengthened following the release of weak manufacturing data from the U.S., China and Europe.
Japan's Nikkei 225 average closed up 63.11 points or 0.70 percent at 9,067, with financial, utility, real estate and some export stocks leading the gains. On the other hand, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and All Nippon Airways fell over 14 percent and 13 percent, respectively. Resource stocks also came under selling pressure.
After showing a volatile trend in the morning, Australia's All Ordinaries closed down 6.10 points or 0.15 percent at 4,166 amid the decision by the nation's central bank to keep interest rates unchanged. Energy stocks served as a drag on the index.
The Reserve Bank of Australia opted to keep its key interest rate unchanged, as it awaits the pass through of the effects of the two consecutive rates cuts implemented this year. The central bank held the benchmark cash rate steady at 3.5 percent, as widely expected. This followed a 50 basis point reduction in May and a quarter-point cut in June.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index, which opened after Monday's public holiday, ended up 279.99 points or 1.44 percent at 19,722.
Among economic news, the results of a survey by China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing showed that the non-manufacturing sector in China expanded at a faster rate in June than in May. The non-manufacturing purchasing managers' index rose 1.5 points to 56.7.
The major European markets are also advancing, although the buying assumed a much more subdued tone. The meetings of the monetary policy setting arms of the two major central banks of the region, namely the Bank of England and the European Central Bank are due this week, with most economists expecting additional stimulus measures.
In corporate news, Netherlands-based telecom company KPN announced the appointment of Eric Hageman as its new CFO. After Marcus Agius quit as Barclays (BCS) chairman yesterday, he was reinstated as Chairman. The company also announced the resignation of CEO Robert Diamond over the LIBOR rate fixing scandal.
On the economic front, Markit Economics reported that its purchasing managers' index for the construction sector fell to 48.2 in June from 54.4 in May. Data released by the Bank of England showed that the number of mortgages approved for house purchases fell slightly to 51,098 in May. Lending to individuals as well as lending secured on dwellings increased.
by RTT Staff Writer
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