Today's economic calendar includes a raft of new data that could influence equity markets. First up at 8:30 a.m. EST are October's retail sales and producer price index reports, which are expected to show a slight fall from the previous month, with retail sales dropping by 0.1% after gaining 1.1% in September. The producer price index is expected to rise by just 0.2% after a 1.1% increase in the previous month. Hurricane Sandy is expected to have dampened retail sales in October.
Later today, at 10 a.m. EST, September's business inventories will be published. A 0.6% increase, in line with the previous month, is expected. This will be followed at 2 p.m. EST by the minutes from the last Federal Reserve policy meeting, which are not expected to contain any surprises.
Office supply chain Staples reported revenue down 2% to $6.35 billion before markets opened this morning. The office supply chain lost $0.89 per share in the third quarter, down from a profit of $0.47 per share during the same period last year and below analysts' expectations of a $0.45 per-share profit. Tyco also reported this morning, unveiling a net loss of $629 million for its fiscal fourth quarter, down from a profit of $174 million for the same period last year. The costs of separating the company from former parent Tyco International were blamed for the loss.
Abercrombie & Fitch is also due to report quarterly earnings before the bell, while shares in Cisco Systems could rise when markets open. The networking company reported above-expectation profits last night, and its stock gained 8% in German trading this morning.
Markets across Europe drifted lower this morning as concerns over global growth continued to weigh on investor sentiment. Rumors started circulating yesterday that Spain may be getting closer to making a bailout request. The yield on Spanish 10-year government bonds has crept back up toward the 6% danger level in recent days, although it had receded to 5.85% at 7 a.m. EST this morning. At 7:45 a.m. EST, the DAX was down 0.45%, the CAC was down 0.58%, the FTSE MIB was down 0.69%, and the IBEX was down 0.34%. In London, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE ) was down 0.59%, with 69 of 101 member companies lower as of 7 a.m. EST. Miners Evraz and Eurasian Natural Resources were the biggest fallers of the morning.
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