The Dow Jones industrial average should probe deeper into record territory this morning after closing at a new high on Tuesday.
U.S stock futures and European markets are modestly higher after Asian markets rose overnight, led by a 2.1 per cent rally in Japan. As a whole, global markets, as measured by the MSCI All-Country World Index, are at their highest level today since June 2008.
The Dow closed at 14,253.77 on Tuesday and hit an intraday high of 14,286 - both records. The broader S&P 500 index is about 1.7 per cent away from its own record high.
With the Dow's milestone on Tuesday capturing so much media attention, more investors who had been on the sidelines may be easing back into the market, worried about being left behind.
There isn't a lot of fresh news this morning. The euro zone released figures showing that gross domestic product fell 0.6 per cent in the fourth quarter, which confirmed an initial Feb. 14 estimate. The increased optimism over global stock markets is helping to tame bond yields in Europe, with Spain's 10-year borrowing costs falling by 7 basis points to 4.97. Just a week ago, the yield was sitting near 5.20 per cent. Italy's 10-year bond yield this morning is down 12 basis points to 4.565 per cent.
North American markets should find some fresh direction later today, as the U.S. reveals factory orders data and the Federal Reserve releases its Beige Book on economic conditions. A private-sector employment report this morning was stronger than expected, which helped to extend gains in U.S. stock futures.
Meanwhile, crude oil prices are just a little lower this morning and had little reaction to news late Tuesday that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has died. Vice-President Nicolas Maduro is assuming the interim presidency and Mr. Chavez's death is not expected to have any short-term impact on the country's huge oil production and reserves. Venezuelan bond yields rose to 9.03 per cent this morning, the highest since Feb. 25.
Now, here's a closer look at what else is going on this morning.
U.S. futures: S&P 500 +0.4 per cent; Dow +0.4 per cent; Nasdaq +0.2 per cent
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index +0.96 per cent
Shanghai composite index +0.89 per cent
Japan's Nikkei +2.13 per cent
London’s FTSE 100 +0.33 per cent
Germany’s DAX +1.08 per cent
France's CAC 40 +0.23 per cent
Italy's FTSE MIB -0.08 per cent
WTI (Nymex Apr) -0.13 per cent at $90.70 (U.S.) a barrel
Gold (Comex Apr) -0.03 per cent at $1,574.50 (U.S.) an ounce
Copper (Comex May) -0.14 per cent at $3.51 (U.S.) a pound
Canadian dollar up 0.0010, or 0.10 per cent, at $0.9744 (U.S.)
ECONOMIC INDICATORS TO WATCH:
The U.S. released the ADP private payroll employment report showing 198,000 new jobs in February, more than the 170,000 expected.
(10 a.m. ET) U.S. releases factory orders for January, which are forecast to drop 2.2 per cent month-over-month after climbing 1.8 per cent in December.
(10 a.m. ET) The Bank of Canada is expected to release a policy announcement.
(2 p.m. ET) U.S. Fed releases its beige book, a report on economic conditions used at policy meetings.
STOCKS TO WATCH:
Torstar Corp. reported adjusted earnings of 49 cents per share in its fourth quarter, down from 70 cents a year earlier, as revenues fell 5 per cent. Analysts expected earnings of 53 cents.
Staples Inc.'s adjusted earnings topped Wall Street’s view, but its forecast for this year was below analysts’ estimates. Shares are down 5 per cent in the premarket.
Other earnings today include: American Eagle Outfitters Inc.; Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated; Constellation Software Inc.; Dorel Industries Inc.; Great Canadian Gaming Corp.; Laurentian Bank of Canada; Petrominerales Colombia Colombian Branch Ltd.; and WiLan Inc.
THIS MORNING'S TOP INVESTING READS ON THE WEB:
David Rosenberg's four "high conviction" ideas for investors wondering where to put their money now that the Dow is in record territory.
Sober up investors: Even though the Dow closed at a record high Tuesday, it still provided investors with a zero return over the last five and one-half years.
David Einhorn and Bill Ackman want you to take sides in their fights against Apple and Herbalife, but investors who think they’re playing the game are actually being used as pawns.
China National Petroleum Corp., the country’s biggest oil company, is seeking its first stake in the U.S. as Chinese explorers with $40 billion of cash try to join an energy renaissance unlocking billions of barrels of crude.
And, in case you missed it last weekend, 60 Minutes’ fascinating two-parter on China’s real estate bubble.
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