US Stock Futures Point To Lower Open Ahead Of Empire State Manufacturing Survey, NAHB Housing Market Data

  on April 15 2013 6:18 AM

U.S. stock index futures point to a lower open Monday ahead of the publication of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Empire State Manufacturing Index and National Association of Home Builder’s (NAHB) Housing Market Index.   

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.37 percent to 14,729.00, futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were down 0.52 percent to 1,573.60 and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were down 0.10 percent to 2843.50.  

Investors await the Empire State Manufacturing Survey for March that rates the relative level of general business conditions in New York State, which is expected to be released at 8.30 a.m. ET and NAHB Housing Market Index that rates the relative level of current and future single-family home sales, scheduled to be released at 10 a.m. ET.

The Manufacturing Survey released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is expected to post an increase of 7.0 for March, lower than a reading of 24.0 in February.  The reading is compiled from a survey of about 200 manufacturers in New York State. A reading above zero indicates improving conditions.

The NAHB Index is expected to post a reading of 45 points in comparison to 44 points posted in the previous month. A reading above 50 indicates a favorable outlook on home sales, while a reading below 50 indicates a negative outlook.

Investors are also expected to keep close watch on corporate earnings reports as many companies including the financial services major Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C) is expected post earnings report, Monday. Citigroup with a market capitalization of $137.56 billion is expected to report FY 2013 first-quarter EPS of $1.14 on revenues of $20.16 billion, compared with a profit of $0.95 a share on revenues of $19.41 billion in the year ago period, before the opening of the markets.

The U.S. stock markets closed modestly lower Friday breaking their four-day winning streak. The Dow ended flat at 14,855.06. The S&P 500 Index closed down 0.3 percent to 1,588.85, and the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.2 percent, to 3,294.95.

Investors also appear cautious over the media reports that the International Monetary Fund is considering downgrading of the U.S. growth outlook from 2 to 1.7 per cent and global growth by 0.1 percent from its earlier forecast of 3.5 percent, when its new statistics are released on Tuesday. The cuts are apparently fallout of the U.S. public spending cuts implemented earlier in the year and persistent volatility in the euro zone.

European markets traded on a mixed note in the early minutes of trade after an unexpected decline in China's first quarter economic growth dragged the Asian markets lower.

The London's FTSE100 declined 0.2 percent in the first few hours of trading, while France's CAC-40 was down 0.1 percent. Germany's DAX Index remained little changed.

Asian stocks declined earlier, after disappointing Chinese gross domestic product (GDP) data elevated concerns over the slow pickup in economic growth in the world's second largest economy.

China's National Bureau of Statistics said the country's economic growth slowed down to 7.7 percent in the first quarter from 7.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 against analysts’ expectation of a growth rate of about 8 percent for the first quarter.

In addition, China's industrial output rose 8.9 percent year-on-year in March, lower than analysts' forecast of 10 percent. Meanwhile fixed asset investment, a key driver of China's growth, rose at an annual rate of 20.9 percent in the first quarter, missing analysts' estimate of a growth of more than 21 percent.

Meanwhile a revised data by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed that Japan’s industrial output rose by 0.6 percent for the third straight month in February, against an initial reading of 0.1 percent decline, indicating that the world’s third-largest economy is heading for a recovery.

But Japanese stock markets were weighed down by the pressure from the U.S., which urged Japan to refrain from policies that would drive down yen further.

The Nikkei closed down Monday 1.55 percent to 13,275.66, while South Korea's KOSPI lost 0.20 percent to 1,920.45.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 1.43 percent to 21,772.67 towards close. In China, the Shanghai Composite index declined 1.13 percent to 2,181.94.

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