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Pre-Market Primer: Caterpillar Cuts Forecast; Futures, Gold Rise

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LG sends a bearish signal to Apple investors.

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Stock futures rose this morning as economic bellwether Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) reduced its forecast due to weak economic growth.

Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures are up 0.38% at 14,528. Futures contracts on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) rose 0.47% to 1,555.00 and Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures climbed 0.64% to 2,786.25. Gold futures are making a comeback, rising 2.86% to $1,431.80 an ounce.

Japanese stocks jumped overnight as the G-20 group tacitly gave Japan's unprecedented stimulus effort its approval. The central bankers and finance ministers of 20 countries did not criticize Japan's actions or label the country as a currency manipulator. The yen fell to 99 on the dollar.

Caterpillar, a global economic bellwether, fell short of forecasts for the first quarter. The Dow component fell 0.51% in pre-market trading, extending its 10% drop since the start of the year as construction spending fell. Sales fell to $13.31 billion from $15.98 billion in the year earlier and earnings per share came in at the lower end of estimates at $1.31, down from $2.37 a year ago. Caterpillar cut its outlook for the full year 2013 to $7. Caterpillar Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Doug Oberhelman said that disappointing Chinese growth in the first quarter was consistent with the company's view that the world economy is slowing.

After the bell, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) is expected to report earnings of $0.18 per share, up from a $0.08 per share loss last year. In the conference call, we will find out whether hyped original programming such as House of Cards helped the company's bottom line. Shares of Netflix are up about three quarters since the start of the year.

LG Display (NYSE:LPL), major supplier to Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), reported weak earnings as demand for iPhone and iPad screens slumped. Apple accounts for about 30% of the Korean company's revenue, and its poor results are not a good sign ahead of Apple's earnings, which we will learn on Tuesday. LG earned $3.1 million in the first quarter, up from a loss in the year before, missing expectations.

LG's earnings underscore a report from Reuters that says that Asian component sellers are hoping to lessen their reliance on Apple. One tech company called Cupertino a "poison apple" because of the hard-to-meet standards.

Later this morning, the government is expected to report that existing home sales sped up to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 5.03 million homes in March, up from 4.98 million previously built homes in the month before.

Budget deficits in the eurozone fell to 3.7% in February from 4.2% a year ago. Of the 17 countries, only six have deficits that fall within the Maastrict limits and only Germany posted a small surplus. Government debt as a percentage of GDP rose to 90.6%.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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