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Pre-Market: Chevron Hit by Refining Margins; ISM Manufacturing on Tap

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A dove and a hawk from the Fed will both speak.

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After two consecutive days of decline, US stock futures headed higher this morning ahead of key manufacturing data.

Later this morning, we will get the US ISM manufacturing index, which economists believe fell 1.2 points in October to 55. This indicates that growth slowed during the government shutdown, but the sector still expanded. In a recent statement, the Fed said that manufacturing growth is slowing down, but Chicago PMI jumped to a two-year high of 65.9 last month.

Before the data release, stock futures were heading upward. Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures were up 0.28% at 15,521.00 while futures on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) rose 0.18% to 1,754.20. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures climbed 0.27% to 3,378.25.

Overnight, China published its manufacturing PMI, which rose to 50.9 from 50.2 in September, beating expectations. Readings over 50 indicate improving conditions. Australian PMI also rose to 53.2 from 51.7, as Australia's economy is very much tied to Asia's.

Federal Reserve members Jeffrey Lacker and James Bullard, a hawk and a dove, respectively, will both deliver speeches today.

Following mixed results for energy peers, Chevron (NYSE:CVX) earnings missed expectations. EPS trailed estimates by $0.14 at $2.57, down fro $2.69 a year earlier. Revenue of $58.5 billion was higher than forecast. Like Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), Chevron blamed lower margins for refining for the decline in profit.

General Motors (NYSE:GM) and Ford (NYSE:F) could see heavy trading today as automakers publish October sales numbers. Economists say that the annualized pace of domestic vehicles rose by 100,000 to 11.9 million and total sales rose to 15.4 million from 15.3 million.

AIG (NYSE:AIG) shares fell 4.16% despite reporting that net profit rose 17% in the third quarter. Earnings per share of $0.96 beat expectations, but its property and casualty insurance unit paid out more than it took in through premiums.

Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad Air goes on sale today with the usual queues in front of Apple stores, but the hype around this device wasn't as high as the iPhone earlier this fall. The iPad Mini models will go on sale on Nov. 21.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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