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Wall Street Poised For Broadly Higher Opening


Investors are awaiting whether President Trump would finalize the steel and aluminum trade tariff as planned. Geopolitical developments are also keenly watched by the market.

Weekly Jobless Claims, Challenger Job-Cut report and a few earnings reports are the major announcements today.

Asian shares closed mostly higher on Thursday, while European shares is trading higher.

U.S. Futures Index says Wall Street is poised to a mostly higher opening.

As of 6:30 am ET, the Dow futures are declining 14 points, the S&P 500 futures are climbing 2.75 points and the Nasdaq 100 futures are improving 28.00 points.

U.S. majors closed mixed on Wednesday. The Nasdaq rose 24.64 points or 0.3 percent to 7,396.65, but the Dow fell 82.76 points or 0.3 percent to 24,801.36 and the S&P 500 edged down 1.32 points or 0.1 percent to 2,726.80.

On the economic front, the Labor Department's jobless claims for the week will be revealed at 8.30 am ET. The economists are looking for a consensus of 220K, slightly up from 210K last year.

The Challenger Job-Cut Report for February will be issued at 7.30 am ET. The announced layoffs in the prior month was 44,653.

The Energy Information Administration or EIA's natural gas report for the week is expected at 10.30 am ET. The level of natural gas stocks in underground storage for the U.S. and three regions of the country has declined 78 bcf last week.

The auction of Treasury's 3-year and 10-year Note announcement and 30-year Bond announcement will be held at 11.00 am ET.

The Fed's money supply data for the week will be published at 4.30 pm ET. The M2 weekly change in the previous week was a deficit of $5.1 billion.

The Fed balance sheet for the week will be issued at 4.30 pm ET. In the previous week the balance sheet was at $4. 393 trillion.

In the corporate sector, Cigna Corp. and Express Scripts Holding Company said they have entered into a definitive agreement whereby Cigna will acquire Express Scripts in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $67 billion. The offer includes Cigna's assumption of approximately $15 billion in Express Scripts debt. The merger consideration will consist of $48.75 in cash and 0.2434 shares of stock of the combined company per Express Scripts share. The merger will deliver first year double digit earnings per share accretion and would enhance Cigna's revenue and earnings growth.

Airbus said it plans to cut or move 3,700 positions or almost 3 percent of its workforce in Europe.

The decision would impact workers in France, Germany, Spain and the UK.

Domino's Pizza Group plc reported that its statutory profit before tax for fiscal year 2017 was 81.2 million pounds, down 2.0 percent year-on-year. Profit attributable to equity holders of the parent for fiscal year 2017 declined to 67.5 million pounds, from 71.8 million pounds last year. But, earnings per share grew to 13.6 pence from 12.9 pence in the prior year. Revenue for the year rose 31.6% to 474.6 million pounds.

Asian stocks closed higher on Thursday. Chinese stocks ended higher after official data showed China's exports grew at a faster-than-expected pace in February. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index rose 16.74 points or 0.51 percent to close at 3,288.41 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index finished up 462 points or 1.53 percent at 30,659.66.

China's exports jumped 44.5 percent year-over-year in February in dollar terms, much faster than the 11.0 percent rise economists had forecast. Imports climbed 6.3 percent from a year ago, slower than the expected growth of 8.0 percent. The trade surplus totaled $33.74 billion, in contrast to the expected deficit of $5.7 billion.

Japanese stocks rebounded, although markets ended off their day's highs. The Nikkei average ended up 115.35 points or 0.54 percent at 21,368.07 after rising more than 1 percent earlier in the day. The broader Topix index closed 0.35 percent higher at 1,709.95.
Australian shares rose as trade war fears eased and the trade surplus figures for January topped forecasts. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 40.90 points or 0.69 percent to finish at 5,942.90 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 41.20 points or 0.69 percent at 6,046.60.

European shares are mostly progressing. France's CAC 40 is climbing 13 points or 0.25 percent. Germany's DAX is down 48.27 points or 0.40 percent. FTSE 100 of U.K. is advancing 0.80 points or 0.01 percent. Swiss Market Index is up 20.65 points or 0.24 percent.

Eurozone's leading Blue Chip index,Euro Stoxx 50, is progressing 0.03 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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