LONDON — Stock index futures at 7 a.m. EDT indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average may open 0.39% higher this morning, while the S&P 500 may open up by 0.42%.
European stock markets rose strongly this morning when they reopened after a four-day holiday weekend. The FTSE 100 was one of the biggest risers, up 1.1% at 7:25 a.m. EDT, with telecom firm Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:VOD) topping the leaderboard with a 5.1% gain. Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:VOD) has been the subject of a number of recent rumors relating to the sale of its 45% stake in Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) Wireless, but today’s gains were prompted by a more detailed report in the Financial Times suggesting that Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) could be preparing a 260 pence per-share breakup bid for the firm.
This morning’s European gains were achieved despite disappointing data showing that manufacturing contracted in all major EU economies in March, including Germany, where the Markit manufacturing PMI dropped from 50.3 to 49 last month. Eurozone unemployment hit a new record of 12% in March, leaving it 1.1% higher than one year ago. Spain admitted that it would need more time to hit its budget deficit reduction target, while in Cyprus, the country’s stock exchange reopened after a two-week closure, and the government said it would relax the capital controls that were put in place last week, allowing larger transfers of money to foreign accounts.
In the U.S., today’s economic reports include February’s factory orders, due at 10 a.m. EDT. Consensus forecasts suggest that factory orders rose by 3% in February after falling by 2% in January. The latest motor-vehicle sales figures are also expected through the day, and analysts are forecasting a decline in total sales from 15.4 million to 15.3 million.
It’s a quiet day for corporate earnings, but earlier this morning spice maker McCormick & Company, Incorporated (NYSE:MKC) reported earnings per share of $0.57 on net sales of $934 million for the first quarter of its 2013 fiscal year. The firm also confirmed its 2013 outlook for 3% to 5% sales growth and full-year EPS of between $3.15 and $3.23. BGC Partners, Inc. (NASDAQ:BGCP) could be the day’s biggest mover — the company’s stock gained 40% in premarket trading after NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:NDAQ) agreed to buy BGC Partners, Inc. (NASDAQ:BGCP)’s bond-trading platform for $750 million in cash. Dow constituent Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) fell 3.4% in premarket trading after Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) downgraded the company’s shares to “sell.”
The article Dow to Rise as BGC Partners Soars on Nasdaq OMX Deal originally appeared on Fool.com.
Roland Head owns shares in Vodafone but does not own shares in any of the other companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool recommends Goldman Sachs, McCormick, and Vodafone.
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