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Apple Inc. Rises as Lines Form for New iPhone; Fed's Bullard Says Taper May Come in October


German elections come this weekend.

Stock futures were mixed today as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) releases the new iPhone and Federal Reserve officials give speeches.

Before the opening bell, Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures were down 0.03% at 15,568. Futures contracts on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) fell 0.03% to 1,716.80 and Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures rose 0.09% to 3,235.00.

Asian and European indices declined today, erasing some of the gains posted after the Fed's surprise decision this week not to scale back quantitative easing.

Gold prices declined 1.01% to $1.355.50/oz after the Reserve Bank of India surprisingly hiked interest rates to 7.5% from 7.25%. The RBI governor Raghuram Rajan justified the move, saying that it will ease inflation.

Today, we will hear a batch of speeches from Fed members. At 12:30, we will hear speeches from Kansas City Fed President Esther George, who dissented in the decision to leave quantitative easing as is this month. Her speech today might shed light on her thinking. Fed Board of Governors member Daniel Tarullo, Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota, and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard will also deliver speeches and comment to the press this afternoon.

Today on Bloomberg Television, Bullard said that depending on economic data points, the taper might come in October.

"This was a close decision here in September, so it's possible you get some data that change the complexion of outlook and make the committee be comfortable with a small taper in October," he said.

Apple shares extended yesterday's gains, rising 1.42% in the pre-market today. Long lines of ardent fans queued up outside of Apple Stores around the globe, allaying fears that demand for the the iPhone 5S and slightly lower-priced 5C would be light. It has been about a year since Apple released a new phone, and this is the first with a new user interface and fingerprint reading technology. Some media reports say that inventory for this crucial opening weekend will be insufficient in North America.

Reuters reported that Nasdaq (NASDAQ:NDAQ) is considering splitting itself or merging with either the London Stock Exchange (LON:LSE) or the Singapore Stock Exchange.

Going ahead this weekend, Germany will hold elections in which Chancellor Angela Merkel will fight to stay for a third term against eurosceptics. In the US, Republicans and Democrats are still locking horns over funding bills before the next in a series of debt ceiling battles. The GOP House yesterday voted to cut food stamp spending by $40 billion over a decade. Today, the House will decide whether to allow the Treasury to fund the government through Dec. 15.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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