Stock futures portend a mixed opening to the day’s trading session ahead of Janet Yellen’s testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, while earnings from retail and technology majors, and trade and jobs data are also expected to hold investors' attention.
Yellen’s testimony to the Senate would be her first significant public statement since she was nominated to the leadership of the U.S. Federal Reserve, and she will be watched closely for insights into her future leadership. In the prepared remarks for her testimony, Yellen notes that the nation’s economy “is significantly stronger and continues to improve,” before adding that, “we have farther to go to regain the ground lost in the crisis and the recession.”
“Like the Chairman, I strongly believe that monetary policy is most effective when the public understands what the Fed is trying to do and how it plans to do it.”
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, or DJIA, were up 0.27 percent and those on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were up 0.29 percent, while futures on the Nasdaq Composite Index were down 0.1 percent.
On Wednesday, both the DJIA and S&P 500 rose -- by 0.4 percent and 0.8 percent respectively -- to new record highs while the Nasdaq rose 1 percent to creep closer to 4,000 -- a level it hasn’t reached since the technology bubble burst in 2000, CNNMoney reported.
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Investors will also watch closely trade balance data for September and jobless claims data for the week ended Nov. 9, both of which are due to be released at 8:30 a.m. EST, for clues to the future of monetary policy and the Fed’s monthly stimulus program.
On the earnings calendar, the before-market-hours line-up includes Kohl's Corp. (NYSE:KSS), Tyco International Ltd. (NYSE:TYC), Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT). After market hours, Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE: JWN), Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE:A) and Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAT) will announce quarterly earnings.
In Europe, markets were significantly upbeat despite disappointing economic data, buoyed by Yellen’s prepared remarks, which suggest a continuation of the Fed’s stimulus program for the foreseeable future.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index was up 0.8 percent and London’s FTSE was up 0.81 percent. France's CAC-40 was trading up 0.75 percent and Germany's DAX-30 was up 0.9 percent.
In Asia too, markets were up with Japan’s Nikkei rising 2.12 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 up 0.68 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 0.83 percent and the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.6 percent. South Korea’s Kospi was up 0.2 percent while India’s BSE Sensex was up 0.58 percent.