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Pre-Market Primer: Stocks Rise Ahead of Consumer Sentiment, Leading Indicators

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Earnings from two retailers disappointed yesterday.

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Stocks are set to recover from yesterday's losses ahead of a report that might show that consumer sentiment improved in April.

Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures are up 0.28% at 15,255. S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) futures rose 0.32% to 1,653.30, and futures contracts on the Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) index gained 0.28% to 3,006.50.

Consumer sentiment for May will be reported later this morning. Economists estimate that the index will rise to 78 from 76.4 in April. The Conference Board will also report that the index of leading US indicators, which is expected to have risen 0.2% last month after falling 0.1% in March.

Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe announced a bold growth strategy. Abe aims to triple infrastructure exports and double agricultural exports by 2020. His target for private sector investment is 70 trillion yen annually. This would bring Japan back to the level it was at before the 2008 crisis.

Car registrations in the European Union recovered just slightly in April, the first monthly rise since Sept. 2011. Sales were up 1.7% over April 2012 to a rate of 1.08 million vehicles.

Yesterday's earnings were bad news for retailers. JC Penney (NYSE:JCP) delivered yet another quarterly loss, missing Wall Street's expectations. The ailing retailer lost $348 million, or $1.58 per share in the quarter that ended on May 4, the last period with CEO Ron Johnson. Comparable store sales were down 16.6%. The cold spring, delayed tax returns, and the increase in payroll taxes contributed to lower sales. Shares are down 3.7% this morning.

Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) also missed top and bottom line estimates with a quarterly profit of $0.73 per share on $2.7 billion in revenue. The retailer's projections for the current quarter is for $0.89 per share, also below analysts' estimates.

Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) reported that adjusted earnings fell 51% to $0.21 per share in the first quarter while private equity companies battled one another to take it private. The worse-than-expected report sent shares down slightly.

A poll by Bloomberg showed that investors, analysts, and traders believe that US economic growth is "sustainable." Most agreed that the US will avoid a recession for at least two more years, but 27% fear that one is coming.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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