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Pre-Market Primer: Yen Crosses Milestone; Global Stocks Rally


The weak yen is fueling a surge on the Nikkei.

Global stocks are rallying today as the yen crosses a milestone and G7 finance ministers begin a weekend meeting.

After Thursday's slip US stock indices are pointing toward a slightly higher open today. Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures are up 0.17% at 15,070. S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) futures are up 0.09% to 1,626.00 and future contracts on the Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) index were up 0.14% at 2,962.25. No major economic data for the US is scheduled for today, but Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will give a speech at the Chicago Fed banking conference this morning.

The Nikkei (INDEXNIKKEI:.NI225) jumped nearly 3% overnight after the yen reached the milestone of 100 to the dollar as a result of the central bank's currency-weakening efforts. The ratio continued to rise to 101.5 this morning.

Activist investor Carl Icahn is making a play for Dell (NASDAQ:DELL). Icahn, along with Southeaster Asset Management, is offering $12 per share in either cash or stock. Dell currently trades above $13, but the investors threatened legal action if shareholders don't get a chance to vote on their offer to take the company private as an alternative to the $24.4 billion offer currently being considered. Icahn and Southeastern are the two largest holders of the stock.

Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) shares climbed 2.4% in the pre-market after it reported earnings that beat Wall Street analyst projections. The maker of graphics processors' net income rose to $0.13 per share as sales rose 3.2% to $947 million. The company's gross margin also rose 4.2% from the year earlier to 54.3%. (NASDAQ:PCLN) also beat expectations. Adjusted net income rose 34.6% from the year earlier to $5.76 per share and revenue rose 26% to $1.3 billion. Shares were dead flat this morning, however, as the company's earnings guidance fell short of forecasts.

European shares also rose overnight. Germany's trade surplus rose by 500 million euros to 17.6 billion euros in March. Imports rose 1.4% on the month and exports rose 0.5%. In the same month, Italy's industrial production fell 0.8%, far more than economists estimates. The Italian goods producing sector's activity is down 5.2% from March 2012.

The G7 finance ministers begin a two-day meeting in Britain today to discuss the fallout of the Cyprus debacle and ways to prevent it from happening again.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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