Benzinga Market Primer, Wednesday October 17
U.S. equity futures were flat in early Wednesday trading ahead of lots of earnings releases expected. Also, Moody's refrained from downgrading Spain to junk overnight, but did keep the nation's credit rating on negative watch.
In other news around the markets:
- Conflicting reports Tuesday showed that Spain was set to receive a "credit line" from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and that it wasn't. Also, reports also stated that talks between Greece and its creditors broke down as well as indicating that they were very close to finalizing the next round of budget cuts.
- Japanese leaders are set to decide on a new round of stimulus measures by November and the Bank of Japan (BOJ) seems set to act in tandem with fiscal authorities. Speculation is that the BOJ will increase its inflation target to 2 percent from 1 percent in order to spur growth.
- The Bank of England's (BOE) Monetary Policy Committee minutes were released showing that members voted nine to zero to keep the current policy, however some members discussed the potential benefits of further quantitative easing or rate cuts.
- S&P 500 futures were flat at 1,449.50.
- The EUR/USD was higher at 1.3107.
- Spanish 10-year government bond yields fell to 5.552 percent.
- Italian 10-year government bond yields fell to 4.838 percent.
- Gold rose 0.14 percent to $1,748.70.
Asian shares were higher overnight, led once again by Japanese shares. The Nikkei Index rose 1.21 percent in Tokyo trading and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.32 percent. Meanwhile, the Hang Seng Index rose 0.99 percent in Hong Kong trading and the Korean Kospi rose 0.7 percent while Australian shares rose 0.82 percent.
European shares were higher, led by Spain after the nation avoided being downgraded to junk by Moody's. The Ibex Index rose 1.49 percent and the Italian MIB Index rose 0.66 percent in MIlan. Also, the German DAX rose 0.21 percent and the French CAC rose 0.3 percent. Lastly, U.K. shares rose 0.28 percent on hopes of future stimulus from the BOE.
Commodities were mixed in overnight trading, led lower by oil futures on fears of continued weak demand. WTI Crude futures fell 0.05 percent to $92.04 per barrel and Brent Crude futures fell 0.34 percent to $113.61 per barrel. Copper futures were also weaker, again on global growth and demand fears, with futures falling 0.24 percent to $369.10 per pound. Gold was higher in early trade and silver futures rose ever so marginally.
Currency markets continued to show broad dollar weakness and broad euro strength in overnight Wednesday trade. Analysts at Barclays (NYSE: BCS) Tuesday suggested a long EUR/USD trade on a break of 1.3025 targeting 1.32. Sure enough, the pair jumped once it broke through that level and now trades near 1.3107. Also, the dollar fell against the yen as the Japanese currency gained 0.2 percent on the greenback as investors fear that any currency intervention may be delayed until the stimulus program is launched next month. Risk currencies such as the Australian and New Zealand dollars also rose in early trade against most major currencies save for the euro.
Stocks moving in the pre-market included:
- CSX Corp. (NYSE: CSX) shares rose 1.25 percent pre-market as the company reported better than expected earnings Tuesday, sending shares higher.
- Shares of Apollo Group (NASDAQ; APOL) fell 8.8 percent pre-market as the company missed estimates in its latest earnings report and lowered guidance, citing lower enrollment at its University of Phoenix than previously expected.
- IBM (NYSE: IBM) shares fell 3.48 percent pre-market as the company reported weaker than expected earnings after the close.
- ASML Holdings (NASDAQ: ASML) reported earnings that missed analyst expectations, largely due to accounting write-downs, and the stock fell 1.98 percent pre-market.
There are several notable companies reporting earnings Wednesday, including:
- Abbott Labs (NYSE: ABT) is expected to report third quarter EPS of $1.28 vs. $1.18 a year ago.
- American Express (NYSE: AXP) is expected to report third quarter EPS of $1.09 vs. $1.03 a year ago.
- Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) is expected to report a third quarter loss of $0.07 vs. a profit of $0.56 per share a year ago.
- Blackrock (NYSE: BLK) is expected to report third quarter EPS of $3.29 vs. $2.83 a year ago.
- eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) is expected to report third quarter EPS of $0.55 vs. $0.48 a year ago.
- Halliburton (NYSE: HAL) is expected to report third quarter EPS of $0.68 vs. $0.94 a year ago.
- Knight Capital Group (NYSE: KCG) is expected to report a third quarter loss of $1.85 per share vs. a profit of $0.48 per share a year ago.
- PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE: PEP) is expected to report third quarter EPS of $1.16 vs. $1.31 a year ago.
- Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX) is expected to report third quarter EPS of $1.18 vs. $1.18 a year ago.
On the economic calendar Wednesday, investors will get new data on the housing market as housing starts and MBA Purchase Applications are both due out. Also, the weekly EIA Petroleum Status Report will give insight into the supply of oil and will most likely affect the price of WTI Crude. Do note that Wednesday is also one of two Wednesdays every month in which banks have to meet Federal Reserve capital reserve requirements, which could cause banks to have to be active in money markets to make sure capital levels are adequate. Investors should also watch data out of China Wednesday night, as Beijing is expected to report investment, GDP, industrial production and retail sales data.
Good luck and good trading.
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