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Premarket: Microsoft zooms higher on news Ballmer will soon retire Add to ...

Stock futures have moved into positive territory just ahead of the opening bell amid a mixed bag of trading overseas, with emerging markets finally showing signs of recovery after more than a week of heavy losses.

Nasdaq futures are leading the pact, up nearly 0.4 per cent on a 9 per cent surge in Microsoft shares in the premarket. The company announced that CEO Steve Ballmer will retire in the next 12 months. Microsoft is a Dow component, so the stock surge should help give a left to that index as well.

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Major commodities are all pointing upward, which should support the resource-heavy TSX. Bond yields are hovering in just below two-year highs from earlier this week.

The MSCI Emerging Markets index is up about 0.7 per cent, trimming its loss for the week to 3 per cent, as the expectation of less stimulus measures in the U.S. and higher interest rates sparked an outflow of capital flows. Major indexes in India and South Korea rose more than 1 per cent and India's rupee and the Turkish lira both traded higher overnight against the greenback after steep losses this week.

The Nikkei in Japan was a big mover overnight, gaining 2.2 per cent as the yen weakened against the U.S. dollar. It was a different story in China and Hong Kong, where major equity indexes declined amid concerns liquidity for financial companies is tightening before the end of the month.

In Europe, Germany released gross domestic product figures that showed a second-quarter growth rate of 0.7 per cent, or 2.9 per cent when annualized. That would make Germany the fastest growing economy among the world's largest industrialized nations, but economists believe the nation will struggle to maintain that type of growth going forward. As such, the DAX is flat this morning.

Market players today will be paying close attention to the Federal Reserve's three-day annual monetary conference, which gets under way in Jackson Hole, Wy. There will be plenty of big-name speakers, including Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda and International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde, but for the first time since 1988, the chairman of the Federal Reserve won't be attending. The Fed has said Ben Bernanke won't make it because of a personal scheduling conflict. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi won't be attending either.

Nevertheless, there is bound to be plenty of discussion on the Fed's plans to scale back monetary stimulus measures, as well as who the next Fed governor will be.

Now, here's a closer look at what's going on this morning and what's to come.

MARKETS:

Equities:

Futures: S&P 500 -0.01 per cent; Dow -0.03 per cent; Nasdaq +0.06 per cent; S&P Toronto -0.04 per cent

Hong Kong's Hang Seng -0.14 per cent

Shanghai composite index -0.49 per cent

Japan's Nikkei +2.21 per cent

London’s FTSE 100 +0.20 per cent

Germany’s DAX Unchanged

France's CAC 40 -0.42 per cent

Commodities:

WTI crude oil (Nymex Oct) +0.19 per cent at $105.23 (U.S.) a barrel

Gold (Comex Dec) +0.34 per cent at $1,375.40 (U.S.) an ounce

Copper (Comex Dec) +0.49 per cent at $3.35 (U.S.) a pound

Currencies:

Canadian dollar at 94.73 (U.S.), down 0.0034 from yesterday's North American close.

U.S. dollar index up 0.01 at 81.49

Bonds:

U.S. 10-year Treasury yield 2.90 per cent, up 0.04

ECONOMIC INDICATORS TO WATCH:

Canada's consumer price index in July rose 1.3 per cent from a year ago, up from June's climb of 1.2 per cent, but below forecasts of 1.4 per cent. Core CPI rose 1.4 per cent, a tough below forecasts of 1.5 per cent.

(10 a.m. ET) U.S. releases new homes sales data for July, forecast to fall to 487,000 from last month's annual rate of 497,000.

STOCKS TO WATCH:

Microsoft shares are up 9 per cent in the premarket on news that CEO Steve Ballmer will retire within 12 months. He will stay on until his successor is chosen.

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. agreed to sell its Rothsay business unit to a Texas-based company. Maple Leaf will receive about $645-million for Rothsay and use the money to pay down corporate debt.

Pandora Media late Thursday said its adjusted second-quarter earnings were 4 cents a share, beating forecasts of 2 cents, but its outlook for the third quarter was below market expectations. Shares are down 6 per cent in the premarket.

Major U.S. banks will be in focus after Moody's placed four of them - Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo - under review for possible downgrades.

THIS MORNING'S TOP INVESTING READS ON THE WEB:

Carl Icahn is tweeting about Apple again.

Bullish sentiment in the U.S. is dropping like a rock.

ETF choices are less important than you think.

A new low-volatility commodity ETF is nearing a launch.

It’s important to remember that when it comes to investing for income, not all dividends are created equal.

Copper's recovery is painting a rosier picture for the global economy.

Airlines are launching no-crying sections - for a fee.

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The premarket report is constantly updated to reflect the latest news developments and market moves. For instant headlines on breaking economic and corporate news in the premarket, follow Darcy Keith on Twitter at @eyeonequities. You can also be notified using our dashboard feature when new articles appear from this author. Read more on using this feature here.

Follow on Twitter: @eyeonequities

 
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