Forex Pros – U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open on Wednesday as upbeat earnings and merger and acquisition activity overshadowed disappointing ADP employment data.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed a gain of 0.4%, the S&P 500 futures indicated a rise of 0.45%, while Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 0.6%.
Earlier in the day, payroll processing firm ADP said non-farm private employment rose by a seasonally adjusted 201K in March, after rising by a downwardly revised 208K in February, lower than the expected 210K increase.
Discount retailer Family Dollar Store saw shares climb 2.1% in pre-market trade after it reported second quarter net income rose by 10% to USD123.2 million. Revenue in the quarter increased 8.5% from a year earlier to USD2.26 billion, as shoppers flocked to its stores for low-priced holiday items and basic goods such as food.
Retail apparel company Oxford Industries saw shares rally 15.4% after posting better-than-expected fourth quarter profits as sales in the quarter jumped by 10%. The company boosted its dividend payout by 18% following the strong results.
In deal news, biopharmaceutical firm Cephalon saw shares soar 29.4% after Valeant Pharmaceuticals International submitted a takeover bid worth nearly USD5.7 billion after markets closed on Tuesday. Valeant saw shares jump 14.8% following the news.
Investment management group Blackrock saw shares climb 5% after S&P announced that the stock would be added to the S&P 500 Index, replacing Genzyme, after markets close on April 1. Genzyme is in the process of being bought out by French drug giant Sanofi-Aventis.
Other stocks that could be active included Coca-Cola, which said that its bottled-water plants in Japan are operating 24 hours a day to meet increased demand and Philip Morris International, which was added to Goldman Sachs’ ‘Conviction Buy’ list.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were broadly higher as shares in automakers and miners performed strongly. The EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.75%, France’s CAC 40 jumped 0.88%, Germany’s DAX rallied 1.65%, while Britain’s FTSE 100 climbed 0.5%.
During the Asian trading session, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index surged 2.6% as exporters led gains after the yen weakened and as Japanese factories began resuming production following the March 11 earthquake.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to publish a report on crude oil stockpiles, while the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Thomas Hoenig as well as St. Louis Fed chief James Bullard were to speak in London.
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