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Pre-Market Primer: Microsoft Corporation May Increase Dividend; Syria Fears Drive Gold, Oil Up


Groupon goes head to head with Amazon by expanding its fulfillment capabilities.

US stock index futures indicated that equities could continue to fall, and commodity prices held gains Wednesday morning as the world grows weary of a possible international intervention in Syria.

The increasing likelihood of war pushed stocks lower yesterday. Worldwide stocks declined sharply and US stock futures are lower this morning. Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures were down 0.58% to 14,845 while futures contracts on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) fell 0.65% to 1,643.40. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures slipped 0.79% to 3,096.25.

Gold rose 0.33% to $1,424.90, its highest level of the summer. US bonds continued to rise. The 10-year's yield rose 2 basis points to 2.73%. Brent crude oil futures rose $1.01 to $115.37/barrel, the highest since 2011.

Today's economic calendar is rather quiet except for the National Association or Realtors' pending home sales index for July. Experts believe that the index will show that housing contracts that are signed but not closed fell 1% after falling 0.4% in June.

European and Asian markets were mostly in negative territory on Wednesday morning. Italian retail sales fell more than expected in June on a yearly basis, sales were down 3%. German consumer sentiment fell. Gfk's forward-looking index fell 0.1 points to 6.9 in September, the first decline in eight months. Due to low interest rates, however, Gfk's research found that consumer's willingness to make large purchases was the highest since 2006.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) will probably yield to activist shareholders and give them more of its massive $77 billion cash hoard, most of which is held overseas. ValueAct, Microsoft's biggest shareholder, is clamoring for a bigger dividend. Bloomberg found that in September, it is likely for Microsoft to increase its cash payout by 13% to $0.26 per share

Shares of mining equipment maker Joy Global (NYSE:JOY) fell 3.7% in the pre-market despite beating earnings estimates. The company posted a 5.3% fall in profit in the fiscal third quarter. It earned $1.71 per share on $1.32 billion in sales.

Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) is looking to boost its growing direct e-commerce sales by buying up at least three warehouses. This move puts Groupon in direct competition with Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN).

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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