In the Headlines
Wall Street futures indicated an open to the upside Wednesday, with shares following global trade higher.
Advancers outpaced decliners by a wide margin in European trade
The Bank of England said inflation could come in below forecasts, leaving open the possibility of more quantitative easing. Fourth-quarter GDP data showed the German economy contracting slightly less than expected, while France's economic growth expanded. Italy, meanwhile, slipped back into recession, showing a worse-than-expected economic contraction.
The euro edged up relative to the dollar early Wednesday.
A Chinese central bank governor expressed support for Europe's ability to fix its sovereign debt problems. That boosted Asian stocks, as well as European.
Japan's exporters rallied, sending the Nikkei to a gain of 2.3%. Gains in the real estate sector lifted Hong Kong's Hang Seng to the tune of 2.14%.
Today's batch of U.S. economic data includes the New York Fed's Empire State manufacturing survey for February, which is due out at 8:30 a.m. EST. Analysts are anticipating a reading of 15, topping January's level of 13.48.
At 10 a.m. the Federal Reserve is set to release its industrial production numbers. Economists are expecting to see a rise of 0.6% in January. Capacity utilization is also part of this report, with analysts eyeing a level of 78.1%.
The National Association of Home Builders releases its February housing market index at 10 a.m. Economists a reading of a reading of 26, a slight improvement over January's level of 25.
At 2 p.m., the Fed is scheduled to release the minutes from last month's policy meeting. Economists and journalists will get out their fine-tooth combs to discover signs of disagreement about the need for further easing.
West Texas Intermediate rose by $1.06 per barrel in electronic trade, to $101.80.
Gold vaulted $11.60 per ounce, to $1,729.30.
Before the bell, agricultural machinery maker Deere (DE) said it earned $1.30 per shares in the first quarter, topping views of $1.24. Revenue came in at $6.77 billion, also ahead of expectations, which called for $6.499 billion. Deere shares leapt $1.26, 1.41%, to $90.31 in the premarket.
Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) reports after today's closing bell. It's expected to earn $1.51 per share on revenue of $1.62 billion. Shares of the iron-ore miner have been consolidating since July of last year.
Graphics chip maker Nvidia (NVDA) also reports later today. Analysts expect income of $0.19 a share, with revenue coming in at $950.51 million. That would mark a year-over-year earnings decline and a revenue increase. Sales of graphics cards for professional use will get likely attention from analysts.
Early price movers included social-media game maker Zynga (ZNGA), which went public in December at $10 per share. After Tuesday's close, the company beat analysts' views for the first quarter, but said user growth had slowed. The shares skidded $1.45, or 10.12%, to $12.90 ahead of Wednesday's open. Evercore downgraded the stock to Underweight from Equal Weight.
Kellogg (K) is acquiring Procter & Gamble's (PG) Pringles unit for $2.7 billion. P&G terminated its proposed deal with Diamond Foods (DMND), which is suffering a scandal related to allegedly improper payments to walnut growers. Kellogg shares rose $2.70, or 5.37%, to $53 in the premarket. P&G was up $0.50, or 0.78%, to $64.98.
In addition to Evercore's downgrade of Zynga, analyst actions Wednesday included a Benchmark upgrade of data storage firm Fusion-io (FIO) to Buy from Hold. The analyst cited valuation, as well as long-term growth prospects. Fusion-io, which went public in June, counts Facebook among its biggest customers.
Sterne Agee downgraded Dell (DELL) to Underperform from Neutral. Dell slumped $0.14, 0.78%, to $17.90 ahead of the open.
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