RTTNews - Following a substantial rally in the previous session, stocks are indicating a roughly flat open on Wednesday ahead of the release of key data from the housing sector. The major index futures are currently lingering near the unchanged line.
Not long after the open, trading is likely to be impacted by housing industry data from the National Association of Realtors. The trade group will release its report on existing home sales in April at 10 a.m. ET, with sales expected to tick up to a 4.66 million annual rate.
Traders will also keep an eye on auto icon General Motors (GM), which is on the brink of entering bankruptcy, poised to follow Chrysler LLC, which filed earlier this month. This morning, GM indicated that its bondholders have rejected the embattled automaker's debt-for-stock offer.
On the earnings front, AutoZone (AZO) reported third quarter net income of $173.69 million or $3.13 per share, compared to $158.64 million or $2.49 per share in the same period last year. Analysts expected the company to report earnings of $2.89 per share for the quarter.
While AutoZone benefited from an increase in replacement-part sales as consumers held onto their cars longer, the company's stock is seeing some weakness in pre-market trading.
Separately, Staples (SPLS) reported first quarter net income of $142.96 million or $0.20 per share, compared to $212.28 million or $0.30 per share in the same quarter of last year. Excluding restructuring expenses, the firm reported earnings of $0.22 per share.
The adjusted results edged out Wall Street analysts forecasts, which had called for the company to report earnings of $0.21 per share.
Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. (RL) reported adjusted fourth quarter net income of $87 million or $0.86 per share. The results firmly beat analyst estimates of $0.40 per share.
After seeing some initial weakness, stocks staged a substantial rally over the course of the trading day on Tuesday, snapping a four-day losing streak. The major averages finished near their best levels of the day, bolstered by some positive news on the health of the U.S. consumer.
The major averages showed a strong upward move over the course of morning trading but moved roughly sideways throughout the afternoon. Nonetheless, the Dow remained firmly positive, eventually ending the session up nearly 200 points.
In early commodities trading, crude oil futures are up $0.31 at $62.76 a barrel, while gold futures are down, slipping by $2.40 to $950.90 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar has inched up to $1.3906 against the euro, moving further off of a five-month low set late last week. The dollar has also moved up against the yen, rising to 95.24 after testing its March lows against the currency ahead of the long weekend.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region finished notably higher on Wednesday. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index rose 1.4 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped by 5.3 percent.
The major European markets are currently turning in a mixed performance. The French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are up 0.6 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.2 percent.
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