Wall Street continues to see nervous sentiment, as it perches at overbought levels. The index futures currently point to a slightly higher open ahead of a trio of market moving first-tier data on the housing and the jobs markets and the manufacturing sector. A slew of retail earnings due for release may also impact market mood, with notable among them being Wal-Mart (WMT). Tamer inflation and mixed data led to subdued trading yesterday. Asian stocks sauntered to a mixed close, while the European markets are down for a second session. Risk assets are seen on the back foot.
As of 6:24 am ET, the Dow futures are adding 14 points, the S&P 500 futures are gaining 0.80 points and the Nasdaq 100 futures are moving up 1.25 points.
U.S. stocks closed a volatile session on Wednesday on a mixed note, as mixed economic data continued to weigh on sentiment.
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 July to come in at 750,000, while building permits are expected to have increased to 766,000. In June, housing starts and building permits came in at 760,000 and 755,000, respectively.
Around the same time, the Labor Department is due to release its customary jobless claims report for the week ended August 11th at 8:30 AM ET. Economists expect claims to edge up to 365,000 from 361,000 in the previous week.
The results of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve's manufacturing survey are due out at 10 am ET. Economists expect the diffusion index of current activity to show a reading of -5 for August compared to -12.9 in July.
Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Narayana Kocherlakota will speak in Williston, North Dakota, repeating his speech the previous day, at 8 pm ET.
In corporate news, Cisco Systems (CSCO) reported fourth quarter non-GAAP earnings of 47 cents per share, up 18 percent year-over-year, on net sales of $11.7 billion, up 4 percent. Separately, the company announced a 75 percent increase in its quarterly dividend to 14 cents per share.
Agilent's (A) third quarter results as well as its 2012 guidance were weak. Hot Topic's (HOTT) second quarter loss narrowed to 2 cents per share from 8 cents per share in the year-ago period. Net sales rose to $157.83 million from $150.95 million last year. The loss was in line with estimates, while the revenues were shy of estimates.
raised its 2012 earnings guidance.
NetApp (NTAP) reported first quarter adjusted earnings that were ahead of estimates. Revenues were about in line with estimates. The company also issued healthy second quarter guidance.
Ross Stores (ROST) said its board has approved an updated long-term management succession plan, which includes a new employment agreement with CEO Michael Balmuth extending through May 2016, transitioning him to the role of Executive Chairman after June 1, 2014.
Aeropostale (ARO), Brocade (BRCD), DryShips (DRY), Gap (GPS), Marvell (MRVL), New York & Co. (NWY) and ScanSource (SCSC) are among the companies due to release their quarterly results after the markets close.
Asian stocks ended mixed yet again, as the listless trading on Wall Street overnight left traders unsettled even as stimulus hopes remained alive. Chinese premier Wen Jiabao's not-so-positive comments on the domestic economy gave some impetus for stimulus hopes.
Japan's Nikkei 225 average opened higher and advanced steadily throughout the session, closing up 167.72 points or 1.88 percent at 9,093, closing above the 9,000 level for the first time since July 6th. The domestic market also benefited from the yen's weakness. Australia's All Ordinaries settled up 46.50 points or 1.08 percent at 4,354. The market witnessed across the board buying, with consumer staple and energy stocks leading the gain.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed at 19,963, down 89.34 points or 0.45 percent.
European stocks are trading lower for the second straight day, with all the three major averages in the region, namely the CAC 40, DAX and the FTSE 100 Indexes currently in negative territory.
In corporate news, Zurich Insurance reported a 19 percent drop in its second quarter profit, although the decline was not as worse as analysts had expected.
On the economic front, a report released by the U.K. Office for National Statistics reported that U.K. retail sales rose 0.3 percent month-over-month in July compared to the 0.1 percent drop expected by economists. The annual increase was also ahead of expectations.
Eurostat reported that the euro area's annual consumer price inflation came in at 2.4 percent in July, the same pace as in June and also in line with flash estimates. On a month-over-month basis, consumer prices were down 0. 5 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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