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Pre-Market Primer: Intel Corporation, eBay Inc Earnings on Tap; Traders Cautious Ahead of Bernanke Testimony

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American Express and Visa could take a hit from a new European regulation.

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Futures declined this morning as investors anxiously await news from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony to Congress.

The main event today is the Chairman's semi-annual monetary policy testimony to the House Financial Services Committee, beginning at 10 a.m. His prepared remarks will be available 90 minutes earlier, but Congresspeople will no doubt probe Bernanke on his assessment of the economy and his plans regarding quantitative easing. Last week, he said that the economy isn't ready for an adjustment of the Fed's $85 billion monthly asset purchases. His dovish comments sent stocks higher.

The Fed's Beige Book, a compilation of anecdotal comments on economic conditions, comes out at 2 p.m.

Earnings season will also be in focus today. Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) will be watched today before it reports earnings this afternoon. Analysts are concerned about the company's revenue after a fifth straight quarter of declining PC sales, while Intel is only just getting into mobile phones and tablets. Sales of computers dropped 13.9% in the first quarter and 11.4% in the second, according to IDC Corp. Intel is expected to report $0.39 per share in profit on $12.19 billion in revenue in the second quarter, down from $0.54 per share and $13.5 billion a year ago.

Internet commerce firm eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) also reports after the bell. Wall Street expects the company to report adjusted earnings per share of $0.63 on $3.9 billion in revenue, up from $0.56 and $3.4 billion last year. Highlights for this quarter include the growth of PayPal in offline payments and on-demand local delivery from E-Bay Now.

American Express (NYSE:AXP) fell 3.5% and Visa (NYSE:V) lost 1.4% in the pre-market on reports that the European Commission might propose capping the charge on debit and credit transactions at 0.2%. Such a policy is estimated to mean $4.5 billion less in fees.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will charge Barclays (NYSE:BCS) and four of its traders $487.9 million in fines for manipulating energy prices in the western US.

US stock futures are mixed ahead of the opening bell. Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures are off 0.08% to 15,378 while futures contracts on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) inched up 0.01% to 1,671.40 and Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures gained 0.11% to 3,074.25.

The government released a statement today that builders broke ground on fewer homes in June. Housing starts unexpectedly slowed to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 836,000 from 928,000 in May.

At his first meeting with Mark Carney as Governor, the Bank of England voted not to expand its quantitative easing program and keep it at 375 billion pounds. The Bank of Japan upgraded its assessment of the economy.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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