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Pre-Market Primer: Food and Energy Prices Rise in US; Stocks Set to Open Higher

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China and Japan's trade surpluses might become a thing of the past if their currencies keep strengthening.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL After ending yesterday's session flat, stocks are set to open higher ahead of the release of consumer sentiment data.

Before the opening bell, Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures gained 0.29% to 13,303.00. S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) futures gained 0.36% to 1,433.60, and Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures rose 0.23% to 2,719.50. European and Japanese stocks traded lower overnight.

In economic news, the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment poll is likely to show that Americans' attitudes have not gotten any more or less upbeat about the economy. The index is expected to have flatlined at 78.3 from September to October.

Food and energy prices in the US pushed up the producer price index, an indicator that usually leads consumer prices, to 1.7% last month. Excluding those volatile items, producer prices were flat.

Europe's industrial production unexpectedly improved by 0.6% in August. Forecasts were for a 0.5% decline. Surprisingly strong production from Italy and France led the region's growth.

The Chinese renminbi hit a fresh inter-day high against the dollar for the second straight day today. The slowly strengthening currency might explain why China's trade surplus fell to $23.14 billion in September from $26.66 billion in August. The stronger currency encourages imports into China and makes exports less competitive. New bank loans in China also fell below expectations despite low interest rates and lower reserve requirements.

Japan's government slashed its economic assessment for the third straight month. Economy Minister Seiji Maehara told reporters that he has "an extreme sense of crisis about current economic conditions," especially due to the appreciation of the yen, which hurts the country's exporters. The diplomatic row with China is also a source of uncertainty, as exporters are being shunned by Chinese consumers.

In equities, JPMorgan Chase (NYES:JPM) shares rose more than 1% in pre-market trading after it beat earnings estimates, reporting $1.40 per share, up from $1.02 per share in the previous quarter. The bank reported gains in the investment bank as well as increases in credit card sales, mortgages, and deposits.

Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD), the chip maker that rivals Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), warned that third quarter revenue declined by 10%. Previous estimates were for a 1-3% decline. AMD will report earnings on Oct. 18 after the market close.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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