New York, November 19th (TradersHuddle.com) – Stock futures were pointing to a higher open at the start of the shortened-holiday trading week amid hopes that a deal can be reached in the U.S. to avoid the Fiscal Cliff. Markets around the world were showing strength, which was also helping the futures markets.
In Asia, stocks closed higher amid hopes that the U.S. fiscal cliff could be avoided and another sharp drop in the yen, which supported stocks in Japan’s export economy. The yen fell to a seven-month low on expectations that a new government in the country could push for a new stimulus package. The Nikkei jumped 1.4% to a 2-month high, supported by exporters. Meanwhile, the Shanghai Composite climbed 0.11%.
In Europe, markets were trading to the upside, with financials and miners leading the charge higher. Stocks extended their earlier gains amid increased optimism that the U.S. politicians will resolve the fiscal cliff, therefore avoiding a recession in the world’s biggest economy. Meanwhile, euro zone policy makers are looking to formalize a two-year extension for Greece to each its budgetary targets, reducing the risk of an imminent default.
The euro was climbing against the Dollar, trading above the $1.27 level. Crude oil was jumping 1.05% to $87.83 per barrel. Also in the energy complex, natural gas was gaining 0.95% to $3.826 per MMBtu. Gold was climbing 0.50% $1723.20 an ounce, and silver was gaining 0.88% to $32.655 an ounce; meanwhile copper was advancing 0.99%.
On economic data, at 10 am, October Existing Home sales figures will be released.
Today’s Stocks to watch: Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), BP (NYSE: BP), Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO), Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW), Sina Corp. (NASDAQ: SINA), Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSN), and Westlake Chemical (NYSE: WLK).
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), the maker of iPads and iPhones, was jumping 1.25% to $534.25 in pre-market, as the stock is seeing follow thru to its attempt to recover from recent weakness. A Barron’s report stated that Apple has the edge over Samsung in their battles in the marketplace and legal fronts with both tablets and smartphones. Barron’s said that it expects Apple to trade at $800 per share in the future, as the company will likely win the battles with its rival and supplier.
BP (NYSE: BP), the U.K. energy giant, was jumping 1.9% to $40.78 in pre-market after Reuters reported over the weekend that the company was planning a $3.7 billion share buyback and after Bloomberg speculated BP could be a takeover target following the settlement over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO), the world’s largest maker of networking equipment, was gaining 1.28% in pre-market after the company announced over the weekend that it intends to buy privately held Meraki for $1.2 billion. Meraki's cloud networking solutions will expand Cisco's network offerings by providing scalable solutions for midmarket businesses. It will also strengthen Cisco's Unified Access platform
Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), the social media giant, was jumping 1.31% to $23.87 in pre-market, extending its 6.3% rally from the prior session. Cantor Fitzgerald was out with positive comments for the company, saying that Facebook seems to be winning the mobile war after comScore data showed the company’s mobile engagement outperforming peers. On Friday, Reuters reported that Facebook was making another attempt to settle the privacy allegations.
Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW), the second largest home improvement retailer, was jumping 3.5% in pre-market after its quarterly results topped expectations and the company reaffirmed its fiscal 2013 EPS guidance. Lowe’s said it earned $0.40 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.05 better than consensus, on revenue that climbed 1.9% from a year ago to $12.07 billion versus consensus of $11.92 billion. The retailer also reported that comparable sales for the third quarter increased 1.8% on a consolidated basis as well as for domestic business.
Sina Corp. (NASDAQ: SINA), the Chinese online media company and owner of the Weibo microblogging service commonly referred to as the Twitter of China, was surging more than 10% in pre-market after Chinese media reported that Alibaba Group was planning to buy a 15 to 20% stake in Sina’s Weibo. Alibaba was valuing Sina Weibio at around $3 billion.
Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSN), the chicken and pork producer, reported earnings of $0.55 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.11 better than consensus, on revenue that fell 0.4% from a year ago to $8.37 billion versus consensus of $8.51 billion. Tyson issued upside revenue guidance for fiscal 2013.
Westlake Chemical (NYSE: WLK), the vertically integrated manufacturer of basic chemicals, vinyls, polymers and fabricated products, declared a special dividend of $3.75 per share payable on December 12th to stockholders of record on November 26th.
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