RTTNews - After choppy trading led to a mixed finish in the previous session, stocks are looking to open modestly higher on Wednesday. The major indices futures are showing some gains, with Dow futures up by 40 points.
Traders are digesting fresh earnings figures from giants Target (TGT) and Deere (DE), while looking ahead to testimony from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner this morning and the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest meeting this afternoon. Also today, Former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker will convene a high profile economic panel tasked with advising President Obama.
Discount retailer Target (TGT) reported first quarter earnings of $522 million or $0.69 per share, compared to $602 million or $0.74 per share in the same quarter of last year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $0.59 per share for the quarter.
The world's largest agricultural equipment manufacturer Deere (DE), reported second quarter net income of $472.3 million or $1.11 per share, compared to $763.5 million or $1.74 per share in the same period last year. The results edged out analyst forecasts which expected the firm to report earnings of $1.07 per share.
In other corporate news, Bank of America Corp. (BAC) said Tuesday evening that it has raised $13.47 billion in new equity through the sale of common stock. The sale is part of the company's efforts to address a $33.9 billion capital shortfall identified by the U.S. government following the conclusion of the stress test of the nation's nineteen largest banks.
With a relatively light economic calendar today, traders will pay close attention to testimony from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to a Senate panel regarding government aid to financial firms. The testimony is scheduled to take place at 9:30 a.m. ET.
Further, traders will focus on the release of minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's April meeting. Market players will look to the minutes to gain some near-term economic outlook and any hint of policy moves by the Fed. The minutes are scheduled for release at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Later this morning, bond traders will look to more quantitative easing measures from the Federal Reserve. The New York arm of the Federal Reserve is set to buy treasuries with maturity dates ranging from February of 2016 to May of 2019. The purchase is scheduled to begin at 10:15 a.m. ET.
Monday, The New York Fed purchased $3.18 billion worth of securities with maturity dates ranging from August of 2019 to February of 2026. The day's buyback attracted strong interest, with a total of $15.22 billion in treasuries submitted for the purchase.
With the purchase, the government has bought back $107.87 billion in treasuries since the purchase program began on March 25th.
Following Monday's rally, stocks saw choppy trading on Tuesday finishing largely on the downside for the day. The major averages were unable to sustain any major moves, with the Dow and S&P 500 drifting into negative territory just ahead of the closing bell on Wall Street.
The major averages had a shaky outing, finishing on opposite sides of the unchanged line. The Dow closed lower by 29.23 at 8474.85, while the S&P 500 closed down by 1.58 at 908.13. On the other hand, the Nasdaq was able to hold on to thin gains, finishing up by 2.18 at 1734.54.
In early commodities trading, crude oil futures are up $0.58 to $60.68, while gold futures are also climbing, up by $5.10 to $932.40 an ounce. Commodities trading is likely to be impacted by the release of oil inventories data from the Energy Information Administration at 10:30 a.m. ET.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar has moved lower against the euro, slipping to 1.3788 while extending its losses against the pound, falling to 1.5515. Meanwhile, the buck inched lower against the yen, moving to 95.73 in early morning dealing in New York.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region finished mixed on Wednesday. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.5 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.3 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets are turning in a mixed performance. The French CAC 40 Index is up 0.3 percent, while the German DAX Index is also up, rising by 0.8 percent. On the other hand, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.1 percent.
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