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Wall Street Buoyant Despite Uncertainties


Wall Street sentiment seems to be firming up despite the major averages trading at overbought levels. The index futures are pointing to a higher opening on Tuesday. Central banks have been voicing concerns about the fragile recovery, giving rise to hopes that more stimuli may be in the offing. Some positive economic data, including Australian retail sales and U.K. service sector activity and soothing remarks on Chinese economic growth could sustain the interest in equities. Traders may now look ahead to the service sector index based on the Institute of Supply Management's nation non-manufacturing survey.

As of 6:15 am ET, the Dow futures are advancing 31 points and the S&P 500 futures are moving up 3 points, while the Nasdaq 100 futures are gaining 7.50 points.

U.S. stocks advanced on Monday, defying all odds, as traders remained convinced that the recovery will continue without much of hiccups.

On the economic front, the Institute for Supply Management is scheduled to release the results of its non-manufacturing survey at 10 am ET. Economists expect the index to edge down to 55 in February from 55.2 in January.

Richmond Federal Reserve Bank President Jeffrey Lacker is due to speak to the NABE annual conference in Washington at 2 pm ET.

In corporate news, ABM Industries (ABM) reported first quarter results that were ahead of estimates and the guidance was positive.

SHFL Entertainment (SHFL) reported first quarter earnings of 12 cents per share compared to 14 cents per share last year. Meanwhile, revenues rose to $58.78 million from $56.05 million. The earnings were in line, while revenues missed expectations.

Nautilus (NLS) reported fourth quarter income from continuing operations of 23 cents per share, up from 11 cents per share last year, while revenues rose 8.4 percent to $65 million. The results exceeded estimates.

Washington Post (WPO) announced that it has completed the sale of Herald, a daily and Sunday newspaper headquartered in Everett. The company did not reveal the terms of the deal.

AZZ Incorporate (AZZ) revealed that its CEO David Dingus has been diagnosed with cancer and during this treatment period set to begin by the week of March 4th, the day-to-day operations will be conducted by the senior management team in place, consisting of its CFO and COOs.

Pfizer (PFE) said a Phase 3 study of its HIV treatment candidate Prevnar 13 demonstrated the immunogenicity, tolerability and safety. The company said the data supported planned regulatory submissions in the U.S., Europe and other parts of the world.

Jamba (JMBA), NCI Building Systems (NCS), Nutrisystem (NTRI), Smith & Wesson (SWHC) and Verifone (PAY) are among the companies due to release their quarterly results after the close of trading.

Asian stocks rebounded, with rebound led by the Chinese markets, which recouped most of its previous session's losses. The Shanghai Composite Index added 2.33 percent for the session after outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao promised increased fiscal spending in 2013 in a bid to deliver economic growth of 7.5 percent for the year. Some positive domestic data and hopes of additional stimulus from global central banks also lent some support.

Japan's Nikkei 225 average closed up 31.16 points or 0.27 percent at 11,684. Australia's All Ordinaries opened higher and rose sharply in early trading. Subsequently, the index moved sideways till late trading before giving back some of its gains. At the close of trading, the index closed up 59.60 points or 1.19 percent at 5,088.

Consumer staple and financial stocks advanced, with the latter benefiting from Reserve Bank of Australia suggestion that there is scope for additional monetary policy easing after maintaining the official cash rate unchanged at 3 percent at its March meeting. Consumer staple rose in reaction to better than expected retail sales for January.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed at 22,561, up 22.69 points or 0.10 percent. Most sectors, with the exception of utility stocks, advanced.

On the economic front, a survey by Markit Economics revealed that China's service sector saw a slower pace of expansion in February.

European stocks are rebounding strongly following their recent weakness. The markets are taking comfort from stimulus hopes and some positive economic data.

In corporate news, Deutsche Post reported 2012 profit rose 42.6 percent to 1.658 billion euros. Underlying profits rose 9.4 percent. German utility RWE reported a decline in its full year profits and also forecast an 8 percent drop in its operating earnings. Commodity trader Glencore reported lower profits amid slowing global demand for commodities. Xstrata also reported lower profit.

Final estimates released by Markit revealed that eurozone service activity contracted at a slower pace than estimated pace. Meanwhile, Markit's survey showed that U.K.'s service sector growth accelerated in February.

Eurostat reported that eurozone's retail sales rose 1.2 percent month-over-month in January following a 0.8 percent drop in December. Economists expect a more modest 0.3 percent increase.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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