The markets were up in Asia overnight. Catalyzed by strong earnings and dwindling economic headwinds, Japan’s Nikkei rose 2.28 percent to 17-month highs above 11,100. The Hang Seng climbed 0.71 percent, while the S&P/ASX 200 increased a modest 0.16 percent.
The markets were mixed at mid-day in Europe, with London’s FTSE 100 fighting for fractional gains. European economic confidence indicators have strengthened alongside the euro, which traded above $1.35 for the first time since 2011. Germany’s DAX was off about 0.12 percent, and the STOXX 50 was off 0.16 percent.
U.S. futures at 8:30 a.m.: DJIA: 0.00%, S&P 500: –0.11%, NASDAQ: +0.07%.
1) Expectations are low for the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s preliminary report on fourth-quarter gross domestic product. Consensus estimates have come in a range between 0.5 percent growth and 2.6 percent growth, with a mean target of 1 percent growth for the quarter.
If these estimates are correct, then the U.S. economy grew at its slowest pace in nearly two years. After healthy growth of 3.1 percent in the third-quarter, fourth-quarter activity was likely slowed by old-hat political dysfunction and the economic uncertainty that brewed in its wake. The report is due at 8:30 a.m.