The mood is still cautious across the global markets and Wall Street seems to be no exception. The index futures point to a slightly higher opening on Monday. Weak Chinese industrial profit gave a cautious undertone to the Asian markets and subsequently to the European markets. Crude oil is holding up due to supply concerns following Tropical storm Isaac threat. The currency market is seeing mixed sentiment, although the euro is seeing a modest gain. Against this backdrop, the markets may tread waters, as traders await Friday's Jackson Hole speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
As of 6:15 am ET, the Dow futures are gaining 7 points, the S&P 500 futures are adding 3.20 points and the Nasdaq 100 futures are moving up 13.25 points.
U.S. stocks lost ground in the week ended August 24th, with the Dow Industrials and the S&P 500 Index declining after a 6-week advance. For the week ended August 24th, the Dow Industrials fell 0.88 percent and the S&P 500 Index receded 0.50 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.22 percent.
Consumer readings and Bernanke's Jackson hole address are likely to predominate proceedings on Main Street in the unfolding week after a week, when trader mood vacillated between hope and despair concerning stimulus announcements not only from the European Central Bank but also the Federal Reserve.
Traders are expected to closely track the Commerce Department's personal income and spending data for July, consumer confidence readings due to be released by the Conference Board and the Reuters and the University of Michigan combine, the National Association of Realtors' pending home sales index for July and speeches by central bank chiefs of the Federal Reserve and the European Union, due at the annual Jackson Hole symposium to be hosted by the Kansas Federal Reserve.
The weekly jobless claims report, the results of the ISM-Chicago's manufacturing survey for August, the Federal Reserve's Beige Book and other Fed speeches scheduled for the week may also create some ripples in the market. The S&P Case-Shiller house price index for June, the preliminary second quarter GDP estimate, the Commerce Department's factory orders report for July and the Treasury auctions of 2-year, 5-year and 7-year notes round up the economic events of the events.
In corporate news, Apple (AAPL) won a legal battle against rival Samsung and was awarded more than $1 billion in damages for violating six of Apple's seven patents concerning their smartphones and notebooks. Samsung lost more than 7 percent in Asian trading.
Meanwhile, Maxim Integrated (MXIM) announced that it sees no material near term impact from the verdict in Apple Vs. Samsung Electronics lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California.
IAC (IACI) announced that its unit Ask.com has agreed to acquire 100 percent of the About Group from the New York Times (NYT) for $300 million in cash.
Hertz (HTZ) announced a deal to buy Dollar Thrifty Automotive (DTG) for $87.50 per share in all cash deal valued at $2.3 billion. The completion of the deal is primarily subject to the tendering of at least a majority of the shares of Dollar Thrifty common stock to the offer, and the regulatory clearance by the Federal Trade Commission.
The major Asian markets closed mostly lower, with the exception of the Japanese, New Zealand and Malaysian markets. The domestic markets chose to ignore the positive lead from Wall Street overnight and reacted with nervousness amid the release of a weak Chinese industrial profit data. China's Shanghai Composite Index slipped 1.74 percent and the worst decliner in the region.
Australia's All Ordinaries lost 3.60 points or 0.08 percent before closing at 4,373. Financial, energy, real estate, telecom and utility stocks came under selling pressure. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index languished below the unchanged line for the bulk of the session before closing down 81.36 points or 0.41 percent at 19,799.
After seeing notable strength in the morning, Japan's Nikkei 225 average declined sharply in early afternoon trading before going about a consolidation move in the afternoon. The index pulled back slightly going into the close, yet closed up 14.63 points or 0.16 percent at 9,085. The market was supported to some extent by the yen's weakness, which sent most export stocks higher.
A government report showed that China's industrial profits declined for the fourth consecutive month in July. Profits were down 5.4 percent annually to 366.8 billion yuan in the month following a 1.7 percent fall in June, the National Bureau of Statistics reported.
The major European averages have staged a recovery from their early weakness and are currently modestly higher. The French CAC 40 Index is up about 0.09 percent compared to a 0.11 percent gain by the German DAX Index. The U.K. market is closed for a public holiday.
In corporate news, ASML (ASML) announced that Samsung Electronics has agreed to contribute 276 million euros, joining in the customer co-investment program, for aiding research and development of next generation lithography technologies over five years.
The results of a survey by the Ifo Institute showed that German business sentiment deteriorated for the fourth straight month in August. The business confidence index based on the survey fell to 102.3 in August from 103.3 in June, while economists had expected a reading of 102.8. The current conditions index as well as the expectations index also declined.
by RTT Staff Writer
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