* US: Dow Futures: 13465.00 (0.29%), S&P 500 Futures: 1449.80 (0.35%), NASDAQ Futures: 2821.75 (0.49%)
* Europe: CAC: 3415.17 (0.27%), DAX: 7326.16 (0.06%), FTSE: 5833.30 (0.15%).
* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4452.40 (0.31%), China: 2086.17 (0.00%), Hong Kong: 20907.95 (0.09%), India: 5787.60 (0.98%), Japan: 8824.59 (0.88%).
* Metals: Gold: 1795.90 (0.90%), Silver: 35.10 (1.20%), Copper: 3.81 (0.71%)
* Energy: Crude Oil: 89.09 (1.07%), Natural Gas: 3.42 (0.80%)
* Commodities: Corn: 7.62 (-0.23%), Soya Bean: 15.52 (0.07%), Wheat: 8.74 (-0.06%)
* Currency: EUR/USD: 1.2991 (0.67%), GBP/USD: 1.6152 (0.47%), USD/JPY: 78.5900 (0.14%)
* 10 year US Treasury: 1.639% (0.024)
Financial and Economic News Update
U.S. stock-index futures trading higher: U.S. stock-index futures are pointing to a higher open on Thursday after jobless claims rose less than expected in the week ending September 29. Weekly jobless claims climbed 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 367,000, the Labor Department said. Economists were expecting a reading of 370,000. Investors also await minutes from the Federal Reserve’s most recent policy making meeting. The Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ were all trading close to half a percent higher.
European markets in the green: European markets are trading modestly higher on Thursday after the European Central Bank kept its main interest rate on hold. The German DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) was up 0.1 percent at 7326.16, the FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) gained 0.2 percent at 5833.30 and the CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) added 0.3 percent to 3415.17. The euro zone blue-chip ESTX 50 PR.EUR (INDEXSTOXX:SX5E) (Euro Stoxx 50) was flat in trade today.
Asian markets end higher: Asian markets closed higher on Thursday with the HANG SENG INDEX (INDEXHANGSENG:HIS) closing 0.1 percent higher at 20,907.95. Japan’s NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) ended up 0.9 percent at 8,824.59 points. The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index added 13.8 points to 4,452.4, its highest close since August 1, 2011. The benchmark Indian 30-share BSE SENSITIVE (INDEXBOM:SENSEX) index jumped 1.04 percent to its highest close since July 8, 2011. The SSE Composite Index (SHA:000001) (Shanghai Composite Index) was closed for a public holiday.
Company News Update
* Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has warned that more job cuts at its Motorola Mobility mobile phone unit are in the pipeline. The search giant said it will take $390 million in severance charges in the third quarter related to the layoffs.
* Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Thursday that the social networking site now has over one billion monthly active users.
* Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST), Limited Brands, Inc. (NYSE:LTD) and Zumiez Inc. (NASDAQ:ZUMZ) reported better than expected September same-store sales increase.
* Consumer products giant Unilever plc (ADR) (NYSE:UL) is considering the sale of its Skippy peanut butter brand, according to a Bloomberg report.
* International Speedway Corporation (NASDAQ:ISCA) reported third quarter earnings excluding items of one cent per share that trailed the average analysts’ estimate of 8 cents per share. Revenue for the period dropped 23 percent to $116 million. The owner of motor sports entertainment facilities also lowered its full-year earnings forecast.
* Diversified manufacturer 3M Co (NYSE:MMM) scrapped its $550 million deal to buy Avery-Dennison Corporation (NYSE:AVY)’s office and consumer products business, after U.S. regulators raised anti-trust concerns over the proposed deal.
* Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance Co., Ltd. (TYO:8593) agreed to buy San Francisco-based aircraft leasing company Jackson Square Aviation from Oaktree Capital Group LLC (NYSE:OAK) for about 100 billion yen ($1.3 billion).
* Power generator Calpine Corporation (NYSE:CPN) said it will acquire an 800-megawatt power plant in Texas from Bosque Power Co LLC for $432 million plus adjustments, according to a Reuters report.
* Visteon Corporation (NYSE:VC) said chief financial officer Martin Welch has resigned after nearly a year in the post. Michael Widgren has been named to replace him on an interim basis.
* Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) fell close to 3 percent in early morning trade after Robert W. Baird downgraded the stock to “underperform” from “neutral” with a target price of $3.
* Nomura Securities has upgraded online auction site, eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) to “buy” from “neutral,” with a target price of $60, citing better margins at its PayPal unit.
* United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS) was lowered to “sector perform” from “outperform” by analysts at RBC Capital Markets with a target price of $75.
* Auto stocks were the standout gainer across Europe. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (ETR:BMW) (FRA:BMW) gained 1.6 percent, Volkswagen AG (ETR:VOW3) (FRA:VOW3) surged 1.8 percent and Porsche Automobil Holding SE (ETR:PAH3) (FRA:PAH3) added 1.3 percent. Renault SA (EPA:RNO) is up 1.3 percent in Paris and Fiat SpA (BIT:F) is trading 1.2 percent higher in Milan.
* London-listed steelmaker Evraz plc (LON:EVR) dropped 1 percent after it agreed to buy an indirect controlling interest in Russian coal producer OAO Raspadskaya.
* GlaxoSmithKline plc (ADR) (NYSE:GSK) (LON:GSK) added 0.6 percent in London trading after the drug maker said that its joint venture with Japan’s Shionogi & Co Ltd (TYO:4507) has completed the initial clinical registration package for dolutegravir, an HIV drug.
* ThyssenKrupp AG (ETR:TKA) (FRA:TKA) gained 2.7 percent after a report said that Korean steelmaker Posco submitted a letter of intent for its American unit on September 28.
* British fashion retailer Ted Baker plc (LON:TED) is up 1 percent after reporting a 15 percent jump in first-half revenue, helped by strong sales in the United States.
* Credit Suisse Group AG (ADR) (NYSE:CS)) will sell its London-based wealth management subsidiary, Clariden Leu Europe to Swiss private bank Falcon for an undisclosed amount.
* British industrial chain maker Renold plc (LON:RNO) plunged 23 percent after the firm said its full-year adjusted operating profit would be significantly lower due to weaker demand in Europe.
* Automotive products retailer Halfords Group plc (LON:HFD) gained the most in almost four years after saying full-year earnings will be in the upper half of its previously forecast range.
* Deutsche Telekom AG (ETR:DTE) (FRA:DTE) was raised to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Deutsche Bank.
* Hong Kong-listed casino stocks ended deep in the red after Macau gambling revenues for September came in lower than expected. Sheldon Adelson’s Sands China Ltd. (HKG:1928) fell 3.7 percent, Wynn Macau Ltd (HKG:1128) slid 3.2 percent and MGM China Holdings Ltd (HKG:2282) lost 3.4 percent. SJM Holdings Limited (HKG:0880) and Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited (HKG:0027) also closed significantly lower.
* Australian sportswear company Billabong International Limited (ASX:BBG) lost almost a quarter of its market value after Reuters reported that the last remaining bidder, U.S. private equity firm TPG Capital Management, was considering withdrawing its takeover bid.
* Japanese camera maker Nikon Corporation (TYO:7731) shed 3.6 percent after the Nikkei business daily said its full-year operating profit would drop 43 percent to 35 billion yen ($445.69 million), amid a slowdown in sales.
* Sydney-listed copper miner Discovery Metals Limited (ASX:DML) has received an 830 million Australian dollar ($847.8 million) takeover offer from Chinese private equity firm Cathay Fortune Corp.
* Toshiba Corp (TYO:6502) rallied 3.9 percent as its Westinghouse unit moved closer to acquiring a stake in a British nuclear power company after engineering group Areva SA (EPA:AREVA) dropped out of the bidding.
* Hong Kong-listed property developer Swire Properties Limited (HKG:1972) fell percent after biggest shareholder John Swire & Sons (H.K.) Ltd. agreed to sell its direct stake in the group for 4.88 billion Hong Kong dollars ($629.2 million).
* Canon Inc. (ADR) (NYSE:CAJ) (TYO:7751) slid 2.2 percent in Tokyo trading after analysts at Credit Suisse slashed its price target and profit forecast.
* Independent directors of Fisher and Paykel Appliances, New Zealand’s largest appliance manufacturer, said shareholders should reject a takeover offer by Chinese consumer electronics and home appliances company, Haier Electronics Group Co., Ltd. (HKG:1169), because it undervalued the company.
* Japanese shopping-center operator Izumi Co., Ltd. (TYO:8273) soared 23 percent in Tokyo after announcing a share buyback program and raising its net-income forecast.
Economic Calendar for Thursday, October 04, 2012:
07:30 A.M. ET: Challenger Job Cuts (YoY) (September)
08:30 A.M. ET: Initial Jobless Claims (Week ending Saturday, September 29, 2012)
08:30 A.M. ET: Continuing Jobless Claims (Week ending Saturday, September 22)
09:45 A.M. ET: Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index (Week ending Sunday, Sept 30)
10:00 A.M. ET: Factory Orders (MoM) (August)
10:30 A.M. ET: EIA Natural Gas Report (Week ending Friday, September 28, 2012)
02:00 P.M. ET: FOMC Minutes
03:00 P.M. ET: Treasury STRIPS
04:30 P.M. ET: Fed Balance Sheet
04:30 P.M. ET: Money Supply
07:45 P.M. ET: St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard speaks.