U.S. and Canadian stock markets look set to open fairly deep into the red, as major commodity prices dip and traders absorb more corporate earnings reports.
U.S. stock futures are down more than a half percentage point, with copper - known as a future indicator for where the global economy is heading - down nearly 2 per cent. Indeed, global growth and its continued sluggishness continues to undermine confidence of market players, who have been debating why this year's powerful rally in U.S. stocks has become so detached from a much more subdued macroeconomic picture.
Bank of America Corp. reported earnings that missed Street views this morning, sending its shares down 3 per cent and casting a negative backdrop for a full roster of other quarterly reports today.
In Europe, stocks are lower, undermined by a weaker-than-expected jobs report in the U.K. The main jobless rate there rose to 7.9 per cent in the three months ending in February, the highest rate since the three months to August 2012.
There's not much in the way of economic data in the U.S. today, although currency and bond markets will be closely monitoring the Bank of Canada's decision on interest rates and its commentary on its monetary policy. The sluggishness recently exhibited by Canadian job and housing markets has clearly pointed to no change in interest rates for the foreseeable future.
The release of the U.S. Beige Book will draw scrutiny this afternoon, and a number of Federal Reserve members - not including Chairman Ben Bernanke - will be giving speeches later today.
Now, here's a closer look at what's going on this morning.
U.S. futures: S&P Toronto 60 -0.1 per cent; S&P 500 -0.7 per cent; Dow -0.5 per cent; Nasdaq -0.7 per cent
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index -0.47 per cent
Shanghai composite index -0.04 per cent
Japan's Nikkei +1.22 per cent
London’s FTSE 100 -0.47 per cent
Germany’s DAX -1.37 per cent
France's CAC 40 -1.27 per cent
Italy's FTSE MIB -0.66 per cent
WTI (Nymex Jun) -0.64 per cent at $88.46 (U.S.) a barrel
Gold (Comex Jun) -0.29 per cent at $1,383.40 (U.S.) an ounce
Silver (Comex May) -1.03 per cent at $23.39 (U.S.) an ounce
Copper (Comex May) -1.92 per cent at $3.24 (U.S.) a pound
Canadian dollar down 0.0035, or 0.36 per cent, at $0.9757 (U.S.)
ECONOMIC INDICATORS TO WATCH:
(10 a.m.) The Bank of Canada makes its interest rate announcement. Economists expect the benchmark rate to remain unchanged at 1 per cent. The bank will also release its monetary policy report.
(2 p.m.) U.S. Fed releases its latest beige book on economic conditions.
STOCKS TO WATCH:
Bank of America shares are down 3 per cent in the premarket after reporting earnings per share of 20 cents, 2 cents worse than forecast. Revenues of $23.7-billion slightly beat forecasts for $23.5-billion.
Yahoo Inc. shares are down 1.4 per cent in the premarket after the Internet company reported earnings late Tuesday that easily beat Street views - but display revenues and guidance disappointed investors.
Intel Corp. shares are down 0.7 per cent after the chip maker warned of a second-quarter revenue decline of as much as 8 per cent due to slowing personal computer demand.
Other earnings today include: Abbott Laboratories; Amercian Express Co.; Bank of New York Mellon Corp.; eBay Inc.; Mattel Inc.
Thompson Creek Metals Co. could see action after Rio Tinto Plc's Bingham Canyon mine in Utah suffered a supply disruption from a landslide. The disruption could reduce global molybdenum supply next year by more than 2 per cent.
THIS MORNING'S TOP INVESTING READS ON THE WEB:
Marketwatch's Mark Hulbert on why gold's fair value may only be $800 an ounce.
Don't blame ETF liquidation for gold's plunge on Monday.
Why we should hope that the gold price continues to fall.
Gold companies are living dangerously because of no hedging.
The scariest part of the gold crash is that no one knows why it happened.
A golden lesson for asset allocation and rebalancing.
Why you should focus on Norway, and not Cyprus.
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