The Day Ahead: Yellen Makes Her Mark

 | Feb 12, 2014 | 8:45 AM EST
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U.S. equities are still basking in the glow of Janet Yellen's debut appearance before Congress, with futures pointing to a higher open Wednesday.

Stocks rallied for a fourth straight session Tuesday, capping off the new Fed chief's well-received testimony on Capitol Hill. The mood was enhanced as House Republicans voted to lift the debt ceiling, avoiding any protracted budget battles or the threat of another government shutdown.

Overseas, a boost in Chinese exports lifted Asian markets overnight, while European markets were recently extending gains into a sixth session, helped by a round of strong corporate earnings.

Stateside, home sales continued to show weakness: Loan applications fell 2% last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers' Association. The purchase index is down 13% for the year.

This aside, there are three items on today's agenda for Fed followers. First, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard will talk about the economy in New York at 8:35 a.m. EST. Then, at 10 a.m., the Atlanta Fed reports on business inflation expectations -- and the New York Fed is also due to issue its small-business credit survey at that time.

In company news, Ford (F) said January auto sales in China rose by 53% vs. a year earlier, giving shares a 1% edge higher in premarket trading. And Toyota (TM) has recalled 1.9 million Prius electric cars worldwide to correct a software glitch.

Action Alerts PLUS holding Procter & Gamble (PG) cut its 2014 earnings guidance on concerns over currency fluctuations in emerging markets.

Amazon (AMZN) shares were down slightly in premarket trading after a downgrade to Neutral by UBS. The e-commerce giant also announced it would be adding 2,500 jobs across its U.S. network of fulfillment centers.

On the earnings front, tractor maker Deere (DE) plowed over analyst estimates for profit and sales, helping shares higher in early trading. Share of glass fiber and materials maker Owens Corning (OC) soared more than 10% on top- and bottom-line beats and a raised dividend. Tobacco seller Lorillard (LO) stubbed out expectations, missing on sales and profit forecasts.

Late Tuesday, retailer Fossil (FOSL) beat earnings estimates by a quarter per share on better-than-expected sales, primping up the shares in extended trading. Wall Street shrugged off a $0.01-per-share profit miss by travel website TripAdvisor (TRIP) and focused instead on a 25% boost in sales over the year-earlier quarter that surpassed expectation. Shares were trading higher in the premarket.

Look for reports after the close from Cisco (CSCO), MetLife (MET), Mondelez (MDLZ), Whole Foods (WFM) and Zillow (Z), among others.

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