LONDON -- Stock index futures at 7 a.m. EST indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) may open 0.67% higher this morning, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) may open 0.34% higher.
After yesterday's figures showed lower-than-expected jobless claims last week, all eyes will be on today's key nonfarm payrolls and unemployment reports, due at 8:30 a.m. EST. Consensus forecasts suggest that nonfarm payrolls rose by 160,000 in February, up slightly from 157,000 in January -- but not enough to make any dent on the unemployment rate, which is expected to remain unchanged at 7.9%.
Earnings from Foot Locker, Ann, and Genesco are expected before markets open this morning. Analysts are forecasting fourth-quarter earnings of $0.72 per share for Foot Locker, while Genesco, which makes shoes, is expected to report fourth-quarter earnings of $2.12 per share.
Pandora (NYSE:P) stock is likely to be actively traded this morning. The Internet radio company's share price rose by 21.8% in after-hours trading last night when the company announced that CEO Joseph Kennedy, is standing down. Pandora said fourth-quarter revenue rose by 54% to $125.1 million, beating expectations, although it still reported a loss for the quarter of $0.04 per share due to rising licensing and sales costs. Analysts expect that Pandora's new CEO will be heavily focused on advertising sales, which are seen as a key source of additional revenue for Pandora.
Markets edged higher in Europe this morning, helped by news that Chinese exports rose by 21.8% in February, beating expectations for a 10% increase. However, in Europe, German industrial output missed expectations for 0.5% growth and remained flat in January, while in the U.K., construction-sector output fell by 6.3% in January, raising fears that the economy might fall back into a third recession.
At 7:10 a.m. EST, the DAX was up 0.65%, the CAC 40 was up 0.91%, the FTSE MIB was up 1.29%, and the IBEX 35 was up 1.64%. In London, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) was up 0.39%, led by a 4.3% gain for coal, iron, and steel producer Evraz. Asset manager Schroders gained 1.6% after a number of brokers raised their target prices for the firm's stock.
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