Stock futures headed higher today on better-than-expected US retail sales
Retail sales in the United States rose 1.1% on a monthly basis in September, after rising 0.9% in August. Economists predicted an increase of 0.7%. Excluding autos and gasoline, sales increased by 0.9% versus the forecast of 0.5%. The New York Federal Reserve Board's Empire State Manufacturing Index for October improved over September's -10.41 to -6.41.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average
(INDEXDJX:.DJI) gained 0.39% to 13,297.00, S&P 500
(INDEXSP:.INX) gained 0.53% to 1,429.10 and Nasdaq
(INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures rose 0.69% to 2,728.75.
Speculation of a Greek exit from the eurozone is back in focus at the European Union's summit in Brussels this Thursday. Swedish finance minister Anders Borg very frankly predicted a "Grexit" in the next six months, saying, "[I]n practice everyone already understands which way the wind is blowing."
The bond markets, however, are showing faith in Greece. Today, the 10-year yield on Greek debt fell to 17.5%, the lowest level since the country's debt restructuring in March. This follows a broad trend of Greek debt rallying since March.
At the two-day summit, EU leaders will also discuss matters such as banking union integration, fiscal budget unification, and the looming bailout of Spain. Rumors of a joint loan program for Greece, Spain, and Cyprus are circulating ahead of the meeting.
Over the weekend, a report on Chinese inflation showed that China still has room to ease policy with more pro-growth measures. Consumer prices increased by just 1.9% on a yearly basis.
(NYSE:S) shares jumped more than 8% after Japanese telecommunications firm Softbank confirmed that it will take a 70% stake in Sprint. Japanese investors punished Softbank, as shares dropped 8%. Sprint is the third-biggest mobile operator in the United States.
"This is pro-competitive and pro-consumer in the US because it creates a stronger No. 3," Sprint CEO Dan Hesse told reporters in Tokyo. "It competes with the duopoly of AT&T
(NYSE:T) and Verizon
(NYSE:VZ). When you look at what Softbank has accomplished in Japan with the No. 3 carrier, it's something we can learn from."
(NYSE:C) will report earnings after the bell today. Despite peers JPMorgan Chase
(NYSE: JPM) and Wells Fargo
(NYSE:WFC) beating expectations for the past quarter, analysts are concerned that profit margins for the big nationwide lenders are shrinking. Citigroup shares advanced slightly before the bell.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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