The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) has gained 63 points in pre-market trading, suggesting a higher start to the stock market today. Global markets rose in overnight trading: Europe's STOXX index had gained 0.2% as of 7:30 a.m. EDT, while Asian shares were up by almost 1%.
Investors can expect some volatility this afternoon when the Federal Reserve publishes the minutes from its March policy meeting. The central bank in that meeting updated its outlook for when it will begin raising long-term interest rates. Instead of anchoring to a 6.5% unemployment rate, the Fed's forward guidance switched to a set of less concrete variables. We'll learn more about the reasoning behind that change when the minutes are released at 2 p.m EDT.
Constellation Brands' beer-fueled profit party rages on. The alcoholic beverage maker this morning booked an 86% rise in quarterly sales to $1.29 billion, along with an 84% jump in earnings to $0.79 a share. The company can thank its 2013 acquisition of the Grupo Modelo beer business for most of those heady gains: beer sales leapt by 13% on strong consumer demand. Constellation Brands expects that market to grow another 10%-12% in the year ahead. Meanwhile, lower grape costs will help give wine sales a profit boost as well. All told, the company sees earnings jumping by as much as 25% this year to roughly $4.05 a share. Constellation Brands' stock was up 4.8% in pre-market trading.
Metalworking tools producer MSC Industrial today said sales in its fiscal second quarter rose by 16% to $662 million, exactly what analysts were expecting. MSC's adjusted profit of $0.87 a share was down slightly from last year's $0.90 haul, but still came in at the high end of the company's guidance. Despite last quarter's sales disruptions by extreme weather, the company sees evidence of momentum building in its business: CEO Erik Gershwind said in a press release that MSC is ready to enter "our next level of growth." The company backed up those strong words with an aggressive outlook that called for sales next quarter to rise by 15% to as high as $732 million. The stock was up 0.1% in pre-market trading.
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