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Pre-Market Primer: Stocks Higher Ahead of Industrial Production and Consumer Sentiment Reports


And another sign that the gun business is doing well.

US stocks are mostly set to rise this morning ahead of reports on industrial production and consumer sentiment.

After yesterday's gains, Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures were down 0.01% at 15,184 this morning before the opening bell. After the second-biggest gain this year, S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) futures are up 0.17% to 1,612.20 and contracts on the Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) index sank 0.19% to 2,925.75.

Energy and food costs drove producer prices up more than expected in May. The index gained 0.5% after April's 0.7% fall. Excluding food and energy costs, producer prices rose 0.1%, right in line with economists' estimates.

The US current account balance fell by $4.3 billion to $106.1 billion in the first quarter.

Separate reports later this morning might show a recovery in industrial production. Economists expect production to rebound 0.2% in May after declining 0.5% in April as manufacturing improves 0.3%. The Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment survey is likely to match the previous reading of 84.5.

Japanese equities bounced higher today after the strong US data releases on Thursday and Prime Minister Abe vowed that his ambitious growth strategies will widen in the fall. The Bank of Japan's May minutes showed that the central bankers are in favor of a two-year limit to unprecedented anti-deflation measures to quiet bond market volatility.

European stocks are also up today despite disappointing data. Employment shrank by 0.5% to a fresh post-2008 low in the first quarter. Employment fell the fastest in Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Cyprus, while the Baltic states saw the fastest growth. This is the lowest level of employment since 2006.

Inflation across the eurozone was also subdued at a 0.1% month-over-month rise. On a yearly basis, consumer prices rose 1.4%.

Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN) shares rallied 7.29% after Deutsche Bank upgraded the stock to a buy.

Visa Inc (NYSE:V) is suing Wal-Mart Stores, Inc (NYSE:WMT) to stop it from raising price-fixing claims over card swipe fees. The retail giant is among thousands of merchants who settled claims that the big payments processors illegally fix fees for credit card swipes that could amount to as much as 2% of the sale. Visa's lawyers claim that it wants to end the "endless, wasteful litigation between the parties" and that Wal-Mart has made it clear that it wants to file its own suit separate from the class-action suit.

Smith & Wesson Holding Corp (NASDAQ:SWHC), the gun manufacturer, rallied 5.5% after beating earnings estimates for the fourth fiscal quarter.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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