Trading in European stock futures indicate a higher opening on Thursday following a four-day sell-off. However, with commodities extending recent declines and uncertainty mounting about the outlook for global growth, investor sentiment will continue to remain bearish.
Asian stocks are broadly lower, as commodities continue to drift lower and the yen briefly strengthened against the dollar ahead of a Group of 20 meeting in Washington beginning later today. According to a draft statement prepared for the meeting, G20 countries will affirm their pledge to avoid currency devaluations to gain a trade advantage.
In economic releases, Japan posted a merchandise trade deficit of 364.421 billion yen in March, the Ministry of Finance said - falling into the red for the eighth consecutive month. Elsewhere, Australian business confidence rose sharply in the first quarter as worries about the global economy eased and low interest rates started to buoy consumer demand, a private survey showed.
Closer home, retail sales figures from the U.K. are due later in the session, with analysts expecting sales including auto fuel to fall 0.6 percent in March from the previous month, following a 2.1 percent rise in February.
Spain's debt auction results are also due, with the government planning to raise between EUR 3.5 billion and EUR 4.5 billion from the issue of securities maturing in 2016, 2018 and 2023.
In data out of the U.S., investors await reports on weekly jobless claims, Philadelphia-area manufacturing and leading economic indicators for more clues on the health of the world's largest economy. On the earnings front, Morgan Stanley, PepsiCo, UnitedHealth and Verizon are among the companies due to report their results before the start of trading. Meanwhile, American Express and eBay posted mixed quarterly earnings reports after the closing bell yesterday.
In domestic corporate news, French hotel group Accor SA reported revenues of 1.227 billion euros in the first quarter, down 1.2 percent from 1.242 billion euros in the same period last year.
GlaxoSmithKline Plc. and Theravance Inc. said that a panel of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended approval of BREO ELLIPTA for long-term use to treat a lung disorder.
Mining giant BHP Billiton announced a new senior management team under the leadership of the newly appointed chief executive officer Andrew Mackenzie, with effect from May 10.
Swiss agribusiness company Syngenta AG reported a 6 percent increase in its first-quarter sales, driven by growth across all regions, except Asia Pacific.
Swedish telecom operator Tele2 AB said its first-quarter profit rose 34 percent to 353 million Swedish kronor from 264 million kronor a year ago.
Akzo Nobel N.V. reported that its first-quarter profit before tax from continuing operations decreased to 157 million euros from 190 million euros prior year.
French catering and vouchers company Sodexo S.A. cut its annual growth forecasts after reporting lower group net income for the first half.
Retailer Carrefour Group posted Group consolidated sales of 20.8 billion euros for the first quarter 2013, up 1.3 percent at constant exchange rates.
European stocks extended their losing streak to a fourth consecutive session on Wednesday, with German stocks declining the most in more than two months hurt by rumors of a German downgrade. Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann's comments that Europe's debt crisis could well take a decade to overcome also hit investor sentiment. The German DAX, France's CAC 40 and Switzerland's SMI dropped about 2.3 percent each, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 lost a percent.
U.S. stocks fell sharply overnight, with disappointing earnings reports from Bank of America to Textron along with troubling news out of Washington weighing on the markets. A letter addressed to President Barack Obama tested positive for the poison ricin, the FBI said. Apple led tech stocks lower on fears of slowing sales. The Dow slid 0.9 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq tumbled 1.8 percent and the S&P 500 dropped 1.4 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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