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Pre-Market Primer: Futures in the Green Ahead of Consumer Confidence


The Case-Shiller Home Price Index and consumer confidence numbers will come out this morning, kicking off a week full of economic indicators.

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL After a long weekend, US stock futures are showing optimism for a week heavy with economic news.

US economic announcements start at 9:00 a.m. EDT with the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index for March, which is projected to show that home prices in 20 metropolitan areas declined by 2.7% on a yearly basis. Economists forecast that consumer confidence in May increased slightly. The Conference Board's consumer confidence index will be published at 10:00 a.m.

With an hour left before the opening bell today, Dow (^DJI) futures were up 0.55% at 12,497.00. Futures on the S&P 500 (SPY) rose 0.52% to 1,321.90 and Nasdaq (^IXIC) futures gained 0.59% to 2,539.00.

Japanese equities ended the day in the green despite a 10 basis point rise in the unemployment rate to 4.6% in April. Separate reports showed that retail sales increased 5.8% over last year, and personal spending increased by 2.6% to 301,948 yen in the month.

European shares are in positive territory today, but AAA-rated sovereign debt also rallied.

Germany reported that consumer prices in the country increased 1.9% over last year in May. German 10-year bond yields dropped to just 1.346% this morning, a fresh record-low return on investment that safety-seeking investors are willing to accept.

Spanish retail sales in April dropped 9.8% from last year, showing a 22nd straight month of declines for that indicator.

Spain is apparently rethinking its plan to bail out Bankia, one of the country's largest and most beleaguered banks. Rather than injecting government bonds into Bankia, the country Spain will go to the market with new debt. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy sounded an alarmist tone before reporters today as he reaffirmed the country's commitment to keep Spanish banks from failing.

"We are not going to let any region or financial entity fall, because otherwise the country would fall," Rajoy said. However, he stressed that the financial sector as a whole will not be getting a complete bailout.

Activist investor Carl Icahn increased his stake in Chesapeake Energy (CHK), the troubled natural gas company, to 7.6%. Icahn called for the replacement of at least four members of the current board.

In his letter to the board, Icahn said, "Rather than act as a source of stability and provide assurance to shareholders, this board has led the company through a highly publicized spate of corporate governance breakdowns while amassing an astounding $16 billion funding gap, which we believe has contributed to the share price decline of over 55% from the 52-week high." Shares of Chesapeake rose 2.47% this morning.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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