10 Things You Need To Know Before The Opening Bell

Obama at the podiumREUTERS/Kevin LamarqueU.S. President Barack Obama waves to supporters as he arrives to speak about the Affordable Care Act at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Maryland September 26, 2013.

Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Markets in Asia were mixed in overnight trading. The Japanese Nikkei 225 fell 0.3%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng advanced 0.4%, and the Shanghai Composite rose 0.2%. European markets are in the red across the board, led lower by Italy, currently down 0.9%. In the United States, futures point to a negative open.
  • Japan’s consumer price index rose 0.9% year over year in August, up from July’s 0.7% pace of growth and ahead of expectations for a 0.8% reading. Excluding food and energy, however, prices fell 0.1% from a year ago, indicating that the rise in prices continues to be driven by higher energy costs. “There are signs that retailers are hiking prices for some goods, evidenced by the rise in the CPI for women’s goods,” say Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley economists. “However, given slow growth in wages, households could begin tightening purse strings again as retailers begin passing through higher costs. We think the risk of deflationary pressures resurfacing still bears keeping in mind.”
  • In the week following the Fed’s surprise decision to refrain from quantitative easing, bond funds expanded assets under management by $US4.5 billion, snapping a five-week streak of outflows. Meanwhile, equity funds got hit with redemptions — especially in the U.S., where investors pulled $US7.4 billion from the asset class.
  • The eurozone consumer confidence index rose to -14.9 in September from -15.6 in August. Economic confidence advanced to 96.9 from 95.3, beating expectations for a smaller rise to 96.0. Industrial confidence rose to -6.7 from -7.8, also exceeding estimates. Services confidence also came in better than expected at -3.3, up from -5.2 in August.
  • Nike shares surged in after-hours trading Thursday as the apparel company’s better-than-expected earnings results got third-quarter earnings reporting season off to a strong, unofficial start. Nike reported earnings of $USo.86 per share in Q3, above consensus estimates for $US0.78 EPS. Revenues and global futures orders also came in above expectations.
  • Shares of embattled retailer JCPenney tanked in after-hours trading after the company announced a secondary offering of 84 million new shares. The company has been having trouble securing financing, as a Goldman Sachs report earlier this week highlighted. “In our view, a combination of weak fundamentals, inventory rebuilding, and an underperforming home department will likely challenge J.C. Penney’s liquidity levels in 3Q,” said Goldman Sachs credit analyst Kristen McDuffy.
  • In a Thursday evening speech at the Colorado Economic Forum, Kansas City Fed president Esther George said delaying the decision to taper quantitative easing hurt the Fed’s credibility. George was the lone dissenter in last week’s FOMC decision.
  • Due out at 8:30 AM ET in the U.S. are August consumer spending and personal income data. Economists predict consumer spending rose 0.3% last month after advancing 0.1% in July, while incomes are expected to have grown 0.4% in August after rising 0.1% the month before.
  • At 9:55 AM, the University of Michigan releases the final results of its September consumer confidence survey. Economists expect the headline index to come in at 78.0, better than the preliminary reading of 76.8 released earlier this month but still well below August’s 82.1 reading.
  • Three Fed presidents speak today. At 8:30 AM, Boston Fed president Eric Rosengren will give opening remarks at a conference on stable funding at the New York Fed. At 10:15 AM, Chicago Fed president Charles Evans sits on a panel at the Norges Bank conference in Oslo, Norway. And at 2 PM, New York Fed president William Dudley speaks on the U.S. economy in Syracuse, with a Q&A to follow.

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