In the Headlines
The optimism that sent stocks soaring in the last 30 minutes of Tuesday's session carried over into Wednesday's premarket, as NYSE and Nasdaq futures pointed to a higher open.
Despite the upside reversal, it's worth remembering that stocks plunged to their lowest levels in more than a year before the afternoon rally.
European indices traded in positive territory ahead of the U.S. session, despite a Moody's downgrade of Italy's bond rating. Financials in Europe were among gainers following yesterday's news that the region's finance officials are considering how to implement a coordinated effort to recapitalize banks.
In Asia, stocks slipped, but not as sharply as earlier in the week. Markets in Hong Kong and mainland China were shuttered for a holiday. Japan's financials closed lower, as did exporters with exposure to Europe.
It's a busy day for economic news. The Mortgage Bankers Association said loan applications fell 4.3% last week, following a surprise uptick in the prior reading.
Higher profile news came from executive outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas, which released its September job cuts report. It found that 115,730 jobs were eliminated last month, more than double the August total. Government agencies and the military posted big declines last month.
There is more employment data at 8:15 a.m. EDT, as payroll services firm ADP issues its jobs tally for last month. Analysts expect that employers added 75,000 new workers.
At 10 a.m., the Institute for Supply Management releases its services index. Because this number tends to be less cyclical and volatile than the manufacturing index, it generally doesn't get as much market attention. Economists expect a reading of 52.9 in September, down from 53.3 in August.
Thirty minutes later, the Energy Department will release its weekly count of crude-oil reserves. Analysts expect an increase, due to greater imports.
West Texas Intermediate crude rose $2.43 ahead of the open, to $78.10 per barrel.
Gold advanced $1.90 in early Nymex trade, to $1,617.90 per ounce.
Silver, meanwhile, fell $0.609 to$29.23 per ounce.
In earnings news, Costco (COST) said fourth-quarter earnings were $1.08 per share, below views of $1.10. Sales were $28.18 billion, topping expectations for $27.81 billion. Including effects of rising gasoline prices and foreign currency exchange, same-store sales rose 12%, year over year. The company said it would raise membership fees, beginning next month.
Seed and agricultural products maker Monsanto (MON) is also due to report before today's open. It's expected to report a fourth-quarter loss of $0.27 on revenue of $1.89 billion. Heading into Wednesday's session, Monsanto shares were down 9.61% so far this year.
After the bell, hotel chain Marriott International (MAR) is set to report its third-quarter results. Analysts are anticipating income of $0.27 a share and revenue of $2.83 billion. Those would mark year-over-year increases.
Premarket gainers Wednesday included Yahoo! (YHOO), advancing $0.33, 2.28%, to $14.79. The company is reportedly preparing to put up the "for sale" sign. Its advisors are Goldman Sachs and Allen & Co. The stock is already up 9.8% for the week as traders anticipated the move.
On the downside, food wholesaler Sysco (SYY) tumbled $2.81, 11.02%, to $22.70 ahead of the open. Last week, a research firm's channel checks showed weakening demand for the company's products. The stock is working on its fifth month in a row of downside trade.
Analyst moves ahead of the bell included Sterne Agee's initiation of coverage on Netflix (NFLX) with a rating of Neutral. The analyst said the stock's current valuation reflects long-term risks. Netflix shares rose $1.10, 0.96%, to $116 in premarket trade.