RTTNews - Following a lackluster outing in the previous session, stocks are looking for a notably higher open on Wednesday as traders react to durable goods data that trumped expectations. The major index futures are all in positive territory, with the Dow futures up by 75 points.
The early optimism is being generated by a report from the Commerce Department that showed durable goods for May rose by 1.8 percent compared to a revised 1.8 percent increase in April. The increase surprised economists, who had expected a decline of 0.9 percent.
Shortly after the opening bell on Wall Street, traders will be presented with another report from the Commerce Department on new home sales figures for May. Economists expect the annual rate of new home sales to rise to 360,000 in May from April's level of 352,000.
Oil supply may also be in focus as the Energy Information Administration is slated to release its weekly oil inventories report later this morning.
This afternoon, the results of the Federal Reserve's 2-day meeting are likely to drive the markets, as traders will digest near-term monetary policy and comments regarding the current economic climate.
On the corporate front, troubled banking giant Citigroup (C) intends to raise workers' base salaries by as much as 50 percent this year to offset smaller annual bonuses, the New York Times reported, citing parties with direct knowledge of the plan.
Meanwhile, General Motors is reportedly planning to cut another 4,000 U.S. white-collar jobs by October 1, 600 more than it earlier announced, as part of an accelerated plan to shrink its work force.
In earnings news, Oracle (ORCL) said Tuesday after the markets closed that its fourth quarter profit fell about 7 percent from last year, as a stronger U.S. dollar ate into its sales.
Contract electronics manufacturer Jabil Circuit Inc. (JBL) reported a net loss for the third quarter due to restructuring and impairment charges and lower revenues. The company's fourth quarter revenue forecast was also lower than analyst estimates.
Additionally, home furnishings retailer Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) is slated to release its first quarter financial results during the day. Analysts expect the company to report earnings of $0.25 per share for the quarter.
A slew of companies, such as open source software solutions provider RedHat (RHT), restaurant operator CKE Restaurants (CKR), payroll services provider PayChex (PAYX) and sports apparel giant Nike (NKE) are scheduled to report earnings after the closing bell on Wall Street today.
Stocks finished Tuesday little changed, marred by another low volume session characteristic of the summer trading season. While the S&P 500 finished up by 2 points at 895, the Dow slipped by 16 points to 8,323 and the Nasdaq dropped by 1 point to 1,765.
Crude oil futures are slipping in early commodities trading, falling by $0.72 to $68.52 a barrel after ending the previous session up $1.74 at $69.24 a barrel. Meanwhile, the price of gold is climbing, moving up by $4.70 to $929.0 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is mixed against the major European currencies, rising to $1.4055 against the euro while falling to $1.6545 against the pound. The dollar has climbed to 95.40 versus the yen after setting a fresh three-week low against the Japanese currency on Tuesday.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region ended Wednesday's session on the upside. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed up 0.4 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped 2 percent.
The major European markets are also seeing considerable strength, with the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index both jumping by 1.3 percent, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.6 percent.
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