Day Ahead: Riding the Wave Higher

 | Apr 02, 2014 | 8:35 AM EDT
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The second quarter is off to a rousing start as U.S. stock futures point to a higher open Wednesday morning. Wall Street will attempt to build on the S&P 500's latest record close, which accompanied a third straight session of gains in the major indices Tuesday. European and Asian exchanges also saw gains.

Wednesday morning, payroll processor ADP said private employers added 191,000 jobs in March -- fewer than the 193,000 that analysts had expected, but still a marked improvement from February's upwardly revised 178,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, mortgage applications ticked 1% higher last week, though the growth was lower than the previous week's 3% gain, according to the Mortgage Bankers' Association. Later, at 10 a.m. ET, economists expect factory orders to rise 1.2% in February, reversing course from a 0.7% dip in January.

Late Tuesday, University of Phoenix parent Apollo Group (APOL) offered mixed results in its fiscal second quarter, beating earnings expectations by $0.09 per share but missing revenue views. Investors sent the stock 4% lower in premarket trading.

This morning, Monsanto (MON) beat earnings estimates on in-line sales.

Also, shares of MannKind (MNKD) nearly doubled in premarket trading after a Food and Drug Administration panel backed the drugmaker's fast-acting inhaled-insulin treatment Afrezza.

GM (GM) CEO Mary Barra returns to Capitol Hill today to answer questions about the automaker's slow response to initiate recalls in order to address faulty ignition switches in millions of vehicles. GM is an Action Alerts PLUS holding.

Finally, Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhart is scheduled to talk about the economic outlook at 12:30 p.m. ET, and St. Louis Fed chief James Bullard will speak at 5 p.m.

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