Sentiment on Wall Street remains apprehensive, as reflected by the U.S. index futures, which point to a marginally lower opening. Although markets have begun pricing in some stimulus announcement from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke at the annual Jackson Hole Symposium on Friday, economists, being more pragmatic, see very little chance of a surefire signal from the central bank. The market mood of the day may also hinge on a key housing report due shortly after the markets open and the Fed's Beige Book to be released in the afternoon.
As of 6:15 am ET, the Dow futures are moving down 7 points, the S&P 500 futures are slipping 0.80 points and the Nasdaq 100 futures are moving down 0.75 points.
U.S. stocks meandered to a mixed close on Tuesday, with stimulus doubts along with growth concerns stifling any kind of re-emergence of risk appetite.
On the economic front, the Commerce Department is due to release its preliminary estimate of second quarter GDP at 8:30 am ET. Economists expect GDP growth to be upwardly revised to 1.6 percent from the 1.5 percent growth estimated initially.
Data on Pending Home Sales, which is a leading indicator of housing market activity released by the National Association of Realtors, is due out at 10 AM ET. The index is expected to have remained unchanged in Jul following 1.4 percent drop in the previous month.
The Energy Information Administration is scheduled to release its weekly petroleum inventory report for the week ended August 24th at 10:30 AM ET.
The Federal Reserve is due to release its Beige Book, a compilation of anecdotal evidence on economic conditions from each of the 12 Federal Reserve districts, at 2 PM ET. The report is normally released about two weeks before the monetary policy meeting is held.
In corporate news, WellPoint (WLP) announced that its Chairman and CEO Angela Barly has stepped down from these positions, effective August 28th. The company announced its VP, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Chief Public Affairs Officer John Cannon as its interim president and CEO.
Eaton (ETN) announced that it has announced an agreement to acquire all of the shares of Rolec Commercil e Industrial S.A. headquartered in Chile.
Sealer Air (SEE) announced that its CEO William Hickey has advised its board of his intention to retire in March 2013. The company noted that the board has elected him chair of the board, effective September 1, 2012. Simultaneously, the company elected Jerome Peribere, its COO, as a director.
Dycom Industries (DY) reported fourth quarter earnings of 39 cents per share, up from 38 cents per share in the year-ago period. Revenues rose 4.7 percent to $318 million. The results trailed estimates.
The major Asian markets closed on a lackluster note, with growth concerns continuing to haunt investors. The Japanese, Singaporean, South Korean and Taiwanese markets closed higher, while the other major markets in the region retreated.
Japan's Nikkei 225 average hovered in positive territory for the bulk of the session, although amid volatility. The index closed up 36.52 points or 0.40 percent at 9,070.
Technology stocks advanced strongly, with Sharp, NEC, Advantest, Pioneer, Sumco and Ricoh leading the gains. Sharp was reacting to its announcement concerning the elimination of 2,000 jobs in Japan. On the other hand, pharma, paper and resource stocks saw weakness. Daikin Industries fell the most after it announced its intention to buy U.S. rival Goodman Global.
Australia's All Ordinaries closed 5.50 points or 0.13 percent lower at 4,382. Material stocks declined sharply, while utility stocks also came under selling pressure.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended at 19,789, down 23.29 points or 0.12 percent.
After opening on a nervous note, the major European averages have declined sharply and are currently trading moderately lower.
In economic news, statistical agency INSEE reported that French business confidence remained stable in August at its lowest level since 2010. The business confidence index remained at 87.
by RTT Staff Writer
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