The Day Ahead: Global Markets Wake Up

 | Jan 15, 2014 | 8:48 AM EST  | Comments
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Global markets were in the green Wednesday morning, helped by a positive growth forecast from the World Bank and building on Tuesday's rebound in U.S. markets.

Stateside, equities futures pointed to a second day of gains ahead of several economic reports and after a major player in the financial sector posted a whopping increase in quarterly net income.

Tuesday, both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq had their best sessions in several months, bouncing back strong from Monday's selloff, while the S&P 500 booked its biggest daily gain since mid-December. The optimism rallied Asian markets, and European stocks were in record territory this morning. This also came as the World Bank lifted its forecast for global economic growth in 2014 to 3.2% from a 3% prediction in June.

Three reports are expected from the Federal Reserve today, starting with its Empire State Manufacturing Survey, which jumped sharply in January to 12.5 from a revised 2.2 in December, indicating economic growth in the New York region. The Atlanta Fed's Business Inflation Expectations follows at 10 a.m. and the Beige Book is out at 2 p.m.

Also released this morning, the Producer Price Index booked a 0.4% gain in December vs. a 0.1% dip the previous month. Earlier, the Mortgage Bankers Association said mortgage application rose nearly 12% last week.

The banking sector continues to dominate earnings this week as another bellwether reported results this morning. Bank of America (BAC), an Action Alerts PLUS holding, reported fourth-quarter earnings of $0.29 per share, beating forecasts by $0.03. The bank also surpassed revenue estimates with a top line of $22.3 billion. The income jump -- an eightfold rise compared with the same period last year -- prompted investors to boost the share price by more than 2% in premarket trading.

Later, CSX (CSX), El Paso Pipeline Partners (EPB) and Kinder Morgan (KMI) are among the names reporting after the closing bell.

Stocks to watch today include General Motors (GM), an Action Alerts PLUS holding, on the announcement of a $0.30 quarterly dividend. The payout is its first since the re-engineered automaker was bailed out by the U.S. government.

Finally, we'll hear from two Fed officials today: the Chicago Fed's Charles Evans is scheduled to speak in Iowa at 12:50 p.m, and Atlanta Fed chief Dennis Lockhart speaks in Atlanta at 5:20 p.m.

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