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Pre-Market: US GDP and Corporate Profits Rise; Ukraine to Receive $18 Billion Bailout From IMF


US jobless claims fell again this week.

Stock futures pointed toward a higher open on Monday.

Before the opening bell, Dow Jones (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures rose 0.43% to 16,368. Futures on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) were up 0.38% to 1,866.30. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures moved higher, rising 0.50% to 3,642.00.

A heavy day of economic indicators was kicked off by US GDP, which grew 2.6% in the fourth quarter of 2013; it was driven by household consumption, exports, and nonresidential fixed investment. US corporate profits increased by $47.1 billion in the fourth quarter, up from $39.2 billion in the Q3 2013. Initial jobless claims decreased by 10,000 to 311,000 this week. Cleveland Federal Reserve President Sandra Pianalto is speaking at the University of Dayton presently. At 9:45 a.m., the Bloomberg Consumer Confidence Index will be released. The Pending Home Sales index comes at 10:00 a.m., and the EIA Natural Gas Inventory follows at 11:00 a.m. Expect the Money Supply and Balance Sheet from the Fed at 4:30 p.m. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard speaks at the Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference at 9:30 p.m.

Overnight, Asian markets were mixed after yesterday's sell-off in the US. Investors wondered if China's recent weak economic data was a good or bad thing since it could lead to new government stimulus. In Europe, stocks remained flat following a two-day rally. French consumer confidence posted a surprising turnaround, rising from 85 in February to 88 in March. Meanwhile, the IMF has agreed to a $14 to $18 billion two-year bailout for Ukraine, intended to help the country stabilize its economy after months of political instability and Russia's annexation of Crimea.

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) has agreed to a $9.3 billion settlement over claims it sold faulty mortgage bonds to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The news comes after it was revealed that Bank of America was forced to resubmit its capital plans to the Fed for its annual stress test. While Bank of America passed, five of the 30 banks reviewed -- including Citigroup (NYSE:C), Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE:RBS), HSBC Holdings (NYSE:HSBC), Banco Santander (NYSE:SAN), and Zions Bancorp (NASDAQ:ZION) -- did not. Shares of Bank of America were up 0.87% in pre-market trading.

Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) newly appointed CEO Satya Nadella is expected to unveil the company's Office software for iPad today. Not launching Office on Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS in the past is thought to have cost Microsoft $2.5 billion per year in revenue.

Japan's largest airline ANA Holdings (OTCMKTS:ALNPY) has purchased 40 airplanes from Boeing (NYSE:BA) and 30 airplanes from Airbus (OCMKTS:EADSY) in a combined $16.6 billion order. In other news out of Japan, Yahoo Japan (NASDAQ:YHOO) said it will buy mobile and broadband provider eAccess from SoftBank (OTCMKTS:SFTBF) for $3.17 billion.

Yum Brands (NYSE:YUM) has announced a branding overhaul for KFC in China, where it will rewrite its menu and drive publicity. Yum's market share in China has remained flat over the past five years, and it has seen revenue fall after 2012 reports that its chickens were fed excess antibiotics. 

Twitter: @brokawbrokaw 

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