After the Fed disappointment, Wall Street is building hopes yet again on Thursday. The index futures point to a moderately higher opening. The European Central Bank, which has recently given new hopes to the markets, is set to announce its verdict on monetary policy short while from now. The global markets may find difficulty in sustaining the momentum unless some radical measure is announced by the central bank. The U.S. jobless claims report may also impact market mood ahead of tomorrow's non-farm payrolls report.
As of 6:15 am ET, the Dow futures are adding 55 points, the S&P 500 futures are firming up by 6.20 points and the Nasdaq 100 futures are moving up 11.75 points.
U.S. stocks declined modestly on Wednesday, as the Fed decision did not serve to quell their anxiety. A lackluster manufacturing data also weighed on sentiment.
On the economic front, the Labor Department is due to release its customary jobless claims report for the week ended July 28th at 8:30 am ET. Economists expect claims to increase to 370,000 in the recent reporting week from 353,000 in the previous week.
The Commerce Department is due to release its report on factory goods orders for June at 10 am ET. Economists estimate a 0.7 percent increase in orders for factory goods, the same pace of increase as in the previous month.
In corporate news, Kilroy (KRC) reported second quarter funds from operations that came in below estimates, while its revenues were ahead of estimates.
SM Energy (SM) reported second quarter adjusted earnings of 9 cents per share, trailing the 23 cents per share consensus estimate. Operating revenues also missed estimates.
Strum, Ruger & Company (RGR) reported higher second quarter earnings that were ahead of estimates. Revenues also rose year-over-year.
Robert Half International (RHI) announced that its board has authorized the repurchase of up to an additional 10 million shares of its common stock.
Murphy Oil (MUR) reported second quarter income from continuing operations of $1.52 per share, ahead of the $1.33 per share consensus estimate. Revenues fell from the year-ago period. The company's third quarter earnings guidance was below estimates.
Avis Budget (CAR) said its adjusted second quarter earnings rose to 94 cents per share from the year-ago quarter's 63 cents per share, ahead of the 70 cents per share consensus estimate. Revenues were higher than a year-ago, although it was below estimates. The company lowered its full year revenue guidance.
Weight Watchers (WTW) reported second quarter earnings that came in line with estimates, while its revenues missed estimates. The company also lowered its 2012 earnings guidance.
Lincoln Financial (LNC) reported better than expected second quarter operating income and revenues. Hartford Financial's (HIG) second quarter core earnings trailed estimates. Prudential's (PRU) second quarter earnings also missed expectations.
Activision Blizzard (ATVI), Blue Nile (NILE), CBS (CBS), Con Edison (ED), EOG Resources (EOG), Fluor (FLR), Kraft Foods (KFT), LinkedIn (LNKD), Microchip (MHCP), Republic Storage (PSA), Pitney Bowes (PBI), Sotheby's (BID) and ValueClick (VCLK) are among the companies due to release their results after the markets close.
The major Asian markets ended on a mixed note, following the uninspiring lead from Wall Street overnight. The Australian, Japanese, Malaysian and New Zealand markets closed higher, while the rest of the markets retreated.
Japan's Nikkei 225 average opened higher and held mostly above the unchanged line before closing up 11.33 points or 0.13 percent at 8,653. Australia's All Ordinaries, which showed some apprehension in early trading, advanced in the afternoon, closing up 7.40 points or 0.17 percent at 4,290. Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed 130.18 points or 0.66 percent lower at 19,690.
On the economic front, a report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 1 percent month-over-month in June compared to expectations for a 0.7 percent increase. A separate report showed that the nation's trade balance showed a surplus of A$9 million in June compared to expectations for a deficit of A$375 million.
European stocks are advancing strongly, as the monetary policy decisions by the European Central Bank and the Bank of England loom.
In corporate news, Continental AG reported higher second quarter net income and sales, while it expects a 7 percent increase in its sales for the full year. Athletic footwear maker Adidas also reported strong increase in second quarter sales and profits. The company also said it continues to forecast to sales growth of about 10 percent on a currency neutral basis.
Utility GDS-Suez reported a decline in its first half profits, although it confirmed its annual targets. Deutsche Post reported adjusted profits of 258 million euros compared to 256 million euros last year, while sales rose 5.5 percent to 3.06 billion euros. The company confirmed its sales outlook for the full year. Airliner Lufthansa reported a net loss, which however was narrower than what analysts had expected.
A survey by Markit Economics showed that activity in the U.K. construction sector strengthened in July, with the corresponding purchasing managers' index rising to 50.9 in July from 48.2 in June. Meanwhile, Eurostat reported that the eurozone's producer prices fell 0.5 percent month-over-month in June, the same rate of decline as in the previous month. Economists had expected a more modest 0.4 percent drop.
The European Central Bank is set to announce its monetary policy decision at 7:45 am ET, with traders expecting the central bank to consider alternative policy options apart from relaxing monetary policy further. Ahead of the ECB meeting, the Bank of England is set to announce its monetary policy decision. The announcement is expected at 7 am ET.
by RTT Staff Writer
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