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Pre-Market Primer: All Eyes on Big Ben


Bernanke's speech in Jackson Hole is going to be the focus today.

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Stocks rose today ahead of the much-anticipated speech by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke at Jackson Hole later this morning.

Bernanke used his Jackson Hole speech in 2010 to announce the second round of quantitative easing, so investors will be waiting with bated breath for any hints that more easing is in store. The speech will take place at 10:00 a.m. EDT. At that time, a report on July factory orders in the United States is also due to come out. Economists expect to see a 2% month-over-month increase in orders after a 0.5% decline in June.

Before the opening bell today, Dow (^DJI) futures were up 0.69% at 13,071.00, S&P 500 (SPY) futures rose 0.71% to 1,407.00, and Nasdaq (^IXIC) futures gained 0.78% to 2,775.25.

European equities turned up today despite a report showing that unemployment in the eurozone is at a record high of 11.3%. June's numbers were revised up, so the rate stayed flat through July, the numbers show. Spain's unemployment rate rose 0.2 points to 25.1%. More than half of Spain's population under the age of 25 are unemployed.

Germany's Bild newspaper reported that Jens Weidmann, president of the Bundesbank, has more than once considered resigning over the European Central Bank's decision to buy sovereign bonds directly. He reportedly felt that the bond-buying verges on outright financing of governments.

Japanese stocks didn't fare so well today. Consumer prices fell at a faster pace in July. Prices excluding food deflated by 0.3% from the year earlier. Japanese industrial output also fell by 1.2% in July. According to Markit, the country's manufacturing PMI also fell to 47.7 in August, the lowest level since April of 2011.

Apple (AAPL) dealt a major blow to Samsung (SSNLF) in the courtroom last week -- but in Cupertino, lawyers weren't so lucky in Japan. A Tokyo judge ruled today that Samsung's smartphones and tablets don't violate Apple's patents.

Over the course of this week, non-Apple computer makers showcased their new designs for this season's computers that will run on Microsoft's (MSFT) new Windows 8 platform at the IFA conference in Berlin. Apple is expected to make a big product announcement later in September.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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