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Pre-Market Primer: Stocks Pare Yesterday's Rally Ahead of Fed's Beige Book

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Europe's malaise is hitting car companies hard.

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Stocks might fall back from yesterday's rally as investors digest more dismal European data.

The Cyprus finance minister confirmed that the country will sell at least some of its gold reserves, but not quite yet. Given the recent plunge in gold prices, they will wait several months. Cyprus has an estimated 13.9 metric tons of gold in reserves.

The job market in the UK was weaker than expected in March. Unemployment rose a tenth of a percentage point to 7.9% last month. Pay rose by just 0.8%, trailing the inflation rate of 2.8%. Wages haven't kept up with inflation since the 2008 financial crisis.

German equities dropped off this morning, and bunds rallied as investors fled to safe haven assets. The country's 10-year borrowing costs fell to a record low of 1.28%.

As the yen fell slightly against the dollar, Japanese stocks rallied 1.2% overnight with the notable exception of Nomura (NYSE:NMR), which denied reports that Italian police froze $1.8 billion of the Japanese bank's assets in Italy.

European car sales in March underscored the lack of consumer confidence in the region. New vehicle registrations fell 10.2%, the 18th straight decline in demand for cars. On a yearly basis German car sales are down 17.1%. Ford (NYSE:F) sales in Europe are down 15.8%, General Motors (NYSE:GM) sales fell 12.6%.

In earnings news, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) reported yesterday that net profit fell 25% from the year earlier to $2.05 billion. As Gartner reported earlier, PC shipments fell for a fourth straight quarter in Q1 as consumers opt to replace aging machines with tablets and smartphones. Intel is largely dependent on PCs since its chips are mostly not favored for mobile devices.

Ebay (NASDAQ:EBAY) might be in focus today before it releases earnings after the market close. The company is expected to report earnings per share of $0.62.

After yesterday's rally pre-market trading is pointing toward a lower opening. Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures are down 0.64% at 14,591 and S&P (INDEXSP:.INX) futures sank 0.71% to 1,557.50. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures retreated 0.74% to 2,807.00. Gold fell 0.75% to $1,377/ounce. Following yesterday's drop in Brent crude prices, West Texas Intermediate oil futures dropped 1.45% to $87.43.

The Fed's Beige Book will be released this afternoon. The report on economic conditions comes out at 2 p.m.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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