WASHINGTON (Alliance News) - The major US index futures are pointing to a higher opening on Wednesday, with sentiment reversing, as the declines of the previous session has prompted traders to take positions. That said, retail earnings continue to be lackluster, triggering concerns about consumer spending - the main engine of growth of the economy. Traders may also keep a tab on a host of Fed speeches scheduled for the day and sift through the minutes of the April monetary policy meeting of the Federal Reserve for cues on the timing for stimulus withdrawal.
US stocks declined on Tuesday, with the lack of any major trading cues proving to the undoing of the markets, given the uncertainty surrounding the evolving economic outlook. The major averages opened lower and moved roughly sideways till early afternoon trading. After declining steadily until late afternoon trading, the indexes moved sideways once again before closing moderately lower.
The Dow Industrials ended down 137.55 points or 0.83% at 16,374, the S&P 500 Index closed 12.25 points or 0.65% lower at 1,873 and the Nasdaq Composite ended at 4,097, down 28.92 points or 0.70%.
Twenty-six of the thirty Dow components closed lower and one stock ended unchanged, while the remaining three stocks advanced. Caterpillar (CAT), AT&T (T), Nike (NKE) and United Technologies (UTX) were among the biggest decliners, while Home Depot (HD) rose 1.91% on its earnings announcement.
Among the sectors, transportation, biotechnology, retail, housing, computer hardware and financial stocks came under intense selling pressure.
The Dow Industrials declined yesterday, breaking below its 50-day moving average (currently at 16,403) and hitting a near term support around 16,336 before paring its losses and closing above the level. The 16,336 level could continue to offer support to the index and if this level is violated to the downside, the index could still find support around its 100-day MA (currently at 16,287). On the upside, the index has resistance around 16,444, 16,481, its 21-day MA (currently at 16,521) and 16,568.
Commodity, Currency Markets
In the first day of trading as the front month contract, crude oil futures for July delivery are climbing USD0.67 to USD103 a barrel. On Tuesday, the June futures expired at USD102.44 a barrel. An ounce of gold is currently fetching USD1,290.30, down USD4.30 from the previous session's close of USD1,294.60. On Tuesday, gold rose USD0.80.
Among currencies, the US dollar is trading at 101.34 yen compared to the 101.33 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Tuesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at USD1.3663 compared to yesterday's USD1.3702.
The major Asian markets closed on a mixed note, with the Japanese, Indian, Malaysian, New Zealand, Singaporean, South Korean and Taiwanese markets retreated, while the Australian, Chinese, Hong Kong and Indonesian markets advanced. The negative lead from Wall Street overnight generated negative sentiment in the region even as higher resource prices lent some support.
The Japanese market retreated, as the yen gained ground after the Bank of Japan refrained from announcing further monetary policy easing. The Nikkei 225 average languished below the unchanged line throughout the session before ending down 33.08 points or 0.24% at 14,042. Export stocks declined, while resource, utility and telecom stocks moved to the upside.
Australia's All Ordinaries opened lower and fell further in early trading. However, the index began to recoup it losses from late trading and ended the session up 2.20 points or 0.04% at 5,404. Consumer staple, energy, financial and utility stocks gained ground, while material stocks moved to the downside.
Hong Kong'sHang Seng Index ended at 22,837, up 1.84 points or 0.01% and China's Shanghai Composite Index closed 16.83 points or 0.84% higher at 2,025. Meanwhile, India's Sensex paused for a breather after the Modi-induced rally.
On the economic front, the Bank of Japan maintained status quo position with respect to its monetary policy following the conclusion of its 2-day monetary policy meeting. The Monetary Policy Board led by Governor Haruhiko Kuroda opted to persist with its policy of increasing the monetary base at an annual pace of 60-70 trillion yen despite cautioning of a reduction in demand and risk to economic growth due to the sales tax hike that came into effect in April.
A report released by the Ministry of Finance, Japan showed that Japan's trade deficit narrowed to 808.8 billion yen in April from a deficit of 1.446 trillion yen in March. However, the deficit was wider than the 646 billion yen shortfall expected by economists.
The results of a survey by Westpac showed that consumer confidence in Australia receded in May, with the index declining 6.8% to 99.7, marking the lowest reading since August 2011.
After opening on a weak note, European stocks have pared their losses and have moved to the upside in early afternoon trading.
In corporate news, UK luxury retailer Burberry reported higher prÊ-tax profit on an adjusted basis. Shipping company AP Moller-Maersk reported higher first quarter profit and raised its underlying profit forecast for the year.
On the economic front, the minutes of the Bank of England's May monetary policy meeting showed that policymakers unanimously decided to monetary policy unchanged. However, the minutes revealed that their views on the appropriate monetary policy varied.
UK retail sales increased at the strongest annual pace since May 2004, data from the Office for National Statistics showed. Retail sales volume, including automotive fuel, advanced 6.9% year-over-year in April, faster than the 4.8% rise seen in March. This exceeded the 5.1% increase forecast by economists.
US Economic Reports
New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley and NY Fed economists are due to hold briefing on regional job gains and economic conditions at 10 am ET.
The Energy Information Administration is scheduled to release its weekly petroleum status report for the week ended May 16th at 10:30 am ET.
Crude oil stockpiles increased by 0.9 million barrels to 398.5 million barrels in the week ended May 9th. Inventories remained above the average range for this time of the year.
Distillate stockpiles eased by 1.1 million barrels and were below the lower limit of the average range. Additionally, gasoline inventories dropped by 0.8 million barrels and were in the middle of the average range. Refinery capacity utilization averaged 90.2% over the four weeks ended May 9th compared to 90.3% over the four weeks ended May 2nd.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is due to deliver the commencement address to NYU at Yankee Stadium at 11:30 am ET. Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank Esther George will speak on the US economy and banking in Washington at 12:50 pm ET. Additionally, Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Narayana Kocherlakota is due to speak in Minneapolis, Minnesota at 1:30 pm ET.
The Federal Reserve is scheduled to release the minutes of its April monetary policy meeting at 2 pm ET.
Stocks in Focus
Target (TGT) reported first quarter earnings that trailed estimates, while its revenues were ahead of estimates. The company's second quarter and full year earnings guidance trailed estimates.
Lowe's (LOW) reported higher first quarter earnings, while its revenues were shy of estimates. The company raised its earnings forecast for 2014.
American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) reported better than expected earnings, while its revenues trailed expectations. The company's full year 2014 earnings guidance was below estimates.
Salesforce.com (CRM) reported first quarter non-GAAP earnings of 11 cents per share on revenues of USD1.23 billion. The company raised its full year guidance, with the revised guidance calling for non-GAAP earnings of 49 to 51 cents per share on revenues of USD5.30 billion to USD5.34 billion. The results exceeded estimates and the guidance was positive.
Analog Devices (ADI) reported second quarter earnings of 59 cents per share on revenues of USD695 million. For the third quarter, the company expects earnings of 60-64 cents per share on sequential revenue growth of 1-5%. The results exceeded estimates and the guidance was positive.
Intuit (INTU) reported third quarter non-GAAP earnings of USD3.53 per share on revenues of USD2.39 billion. The results were ahead of estimates. For the full year 2014, the company expects non-GAAP earnings of USD3.54 to USD3.58 per share on revenues of USD4.475 billion to USD4.505 billion. The earnings guidance was weak.
ViaSat (VSAT) reported fourth quarter adjusted earnings and revenues that trailed estimates.
Hutchinson Technology (HTCH) announced actions, including the elimination of 100 positions by the end of July, to reduce costs further and preserve costs. The company also said it expects to take a severance charge of USD1.3 million in its third quarter.
Dycom (DY) reported third quarter earnings of 23 cents per share on contract revenues of USD426.3 million. The earnings were ahead of estimates but it revenues trailed expectations. For the fourth quarter, the company expects earnings of 43-50 cents per share on revenues of USD475 million to USD495 million. The guidance was weak.
Novatel (NVTL) announced that its CFO Kenneth Leddon has offered to quit, effective May 31st, 2014, to take up an offer with another company.
NetApp (NTAP), Semtech (SMTC), SINA (SINA), Synopsys (SNPS) and Williams-Sonoma (WSM) are among the companies due to release their quarterly results after the close of trading.