U.S. Stocks Seem Set To Carry On From Last Week As Futures Point To Upbeat Opening; IP, Homes Sales Data In Focus

 @arjunkashyapa.kashyap@ibtimes.com
on October 28 2013 6:35 AM

Following an earnings-heavy week, Monday brings more earnings announcements from index heavyweights along with the release of some crucial data points such as industrial production and the pending home sales index.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.32 percent while futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were up 0.23 percent, and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were up 0.3 percent.

“Optimism over corporate earnings and the fact that there’s no end in sight to the lax monetary policy of the Fed have combined to leave equity traders on the front foot as the new week gets underway,” analysts at Monex Capital wrote in a note, according to MarketWatch. “With a hectic week of economic and corporate data from the U.S. on the cards, there’s going to be no shortage of drivers to provide some meaningful direction.”

Last week, the Dow Jones finished up 1.1 percent while the S&P 500 rose 0.9 percent and the Nasdaq composite index up 0.7 percent, after American companies delivered relatively strong performance numbers to set the ongoing earnings season on track to be the year’s best by some measures, according to MarketWatch.

However, all that could mean is that “U.S. corporations are benefitting from being the best house in a bad neighborhood,” Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets, told MarketWatch.

On Monday, investors have earnings announcements from Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE:MRK) and Biogen Idec Inc. (NASDAQ:BIIB) before market hours, and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) after market hours, to look forward to.

On the data front, Industrial Production for September, which was delayed due to the government shutdown, will be released at 9:15 a.m. EDT. The pending home sales index for September is scheduled to be released at 10 a.m. EDT.

In Europe, markets were trading mostly flat to higher. The Stoxx Europe 600 index was up 0.07 percent and London’s FTSE 100 was up 0.05 percent. Germany's DAX-30 was up 0.11 percent and France's CAC-40 was down 0.32 percent.

In Asia, a weak yen helped Japan’s Nikkei to claw back from Friday’s plunge to post gains of 2.19 percent while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 1.02 percent. South Korea’s Kospi was up 0.68 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.48 percent and the Shanghai Composite was up 0.04 percent, while India’s benchmark BSE Sensex ended the day down 0.55 percent.

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