Ahead of the Bell: Dow futures are trading up 17 points and S&P futures are trading up 3 points. Confidence is building that the US economy might be getting back on track with the surprisingly positive retail data yesterday, coupled with February's non-farm payroll report last week. According to reports, economists now believe the economy is on course to grow about 2.5% in the first quarter of 2013. Both political parties in Washington still remain far apart over the budget negotiations on spending cuts, despite efforts by President, Barack Obama to convince congressional leaders of his proposal.
On the economic calendar today, the Labor Department will release weekly jobless before the market opens, 350K is expected compared with 340K for the week prior. Producer price index for February will also be out prior to the opening bell, 0.6% is expected versus 0.2% for January.
Lara Muller, hoofd CSR bij Corio, opent de handelsdag ter gelegenheid van de start van het Responsible Investment Corporate Access (RICA) evenement in Amsterdam.
Fair Impact en Tradinfo organiseren de eerste RICA Amsterdam Conferentie over "Trends en kansen in Resource Efficiency". De RICA conferentie is een unieke gelegenheid voor beursgenoteerde ondernemingen, investeerders en deskundigen om de laatste issues bespreken in Resource Efficiency zoals: leads to new businesses, impact assessment van bedrijven en instellingen en duurzame kredietverlening. NYSE Euronext is de host van RICA Amsterdam.
Stocks ended higher as investors digested positive economic news as the U.S. dollar climbed to a seven month high on Wednesday. A weak Italian bond auction and disappointing data on euro zone factory output hurt the euro.
On the economic front, retail sales in February were strong, up 1.1%, despite payroll tax increases and delayed income tax returns. The bump came from gasoline prices and auto sales.
A heavy build in retail vehicles is a major factor behind business inventories rise of 1.0%. The 1.9% increase in retail auto & parts reflects strong demand for autos.