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Pre-Market: Men's Wearhouse Bids for Jos. A. Bank; Housing Permits Hit 5-Year High

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Men's Wearhouse would rather buy than be bought.

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Stocks are set to rise today as investors await a bevy of economic data.

Today, the Census Bureau released building permits data for September and October. September permits rose to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 974,000 from 891,000 in August. October building permits rose 6.2% to a pace of 1.034 million, a five-year high. Due to continued delays related to the government shutdown last month, housing starts were not reported. Next month, we will get housing starts numbers for September through November.

Later today, the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index will come out. Economists say that prices in the 20 cities that the indicator tracks likely rose 0.9% in September. The Federal Housing Finance Agency's house price index will come out simultaneously, and it is expected to show a 0.4% rise in September.

At 10 a.m. we will get consumer confidence numbers for November. The index is forecast to rise 1.7 points to 72.9 this month after diving 8.5 points during the government shutdown in October.

After yesterday's mixed trading day, stock futures are just barely in positive territory today. Before the opening bell, Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures rose 0.04% to 16,069. S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) futures were up 0.07% at 1,803.60 and futures on the Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) gained 0.09% to 3,432.25.

Oil prices have rebounded since falling sharply yesterday after the West agreed to ease sanctions on Iran. However, import bans are expected to remain in place for months and production is delayed, so Iranian oil will not be flooding the markets any time soon. This morning, Brent crude was down just 0.09% at $110.90/barrel and WTI was up 0.24% at $94.32/barrel.

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) could see action today ahead of its earnings release after the closing bell. Analysts worry that a sluggish PC market, weak enterprise demand, and political difficulties in China could have hurt the firm in the past quarter. Experts predict that earnings per share will fall to $1 from $1.16 a year ago. Revenue is likely to have fallen 7% to $27.9 billion. In pre-market trading, shares of the tech company are up 0.12%.

Workday (NYSE:WDAY) shares were up 9% in the pre-market as the cloud-based HR-management-software company said that it expects revenue to hit $138 million in the current quarter, surpassing projections of $129 million.

This morning, The Men's Wearhouse, Inc (NYSE:MW) proposed to acquire rival Jos. A. Bank (NASDAQ:JOSB) for $55 per share, a $4.40 premium over Monday's closing price. The Men's Wearhouse, which rebuffed Jos. A. Bank's acquisition offer, says that the offer is a 45% premium over the latter's enterprise value and 32% higher than its price before acquisition talks started. After the press release hit the wires, The Men's Wearhouse shares were up 4.14% and Jos. A. Bank was up 11.28% at $56.31, which is a bit higher than the bid. The combined company will have more than 1,700 stores.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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