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Inside the Market

Premarket: Stocks heading higher as Alcoa bolsters sentiment Add to ...

U.S. and Canadian stock markets appear to be headed for a higher opening, with sentiment bolstered by a modestly better-than-expected earnings report late Monday from economic bellwether Alcoa Inc.

But with stock futures up 0.5 per cent or less, and European markets seeing gains of less than 1 per cent, there isn't too much buying momentum as the North American trading day gets underway.

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Part of the reason is that investors are anxiously waiting for Wednesday's release of the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting in June. It could provide some clues on when the Fed will start tapering its $85-billion (U.S.) monthly bond purchases.

Alcoa shares are up a modest 0.3 per cent. Its earnings report provided some encouragement to those concerned with the global macroeconomic picture: it reaffirmed its projection of 7 per cent global growth in demand for aluminum in 2013. Alcoa is the first member of the Dow Jones industrial average to report quarterly results, and its earnings provided a shot of optimism that corporate profit growth in general may exceed analysts' cautious outlook for the second quarter. 

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

MARKETS:

Equities:

Futures: S&P 500 +0.3 per cent; Dow +0.2 per cent; Nasdaq +0.3 per cent; TSX Toronto +0.5 per cent

Hong Kong's Hang Seng +0.4 per cent

Shanghai composite index +0.3 per cent

Japan's Nikkei +2.5 per cent

London’s FTSE 100 +0.7 per cent

Germany’s DAX +0.8 per cent

France's CAC 40 +0.5 per cent

Commodities:

WTI crude oil (Nymex Aug) -0.11 per cent at $103.03 (U.S.) a barrel

Gold (Comex Aug) +1.11 per cent at $1,248.60 (U.S.) an ounce

Copper (Comex Sep) -1.50 per cent at $3.05 (U.S.) a pound

Currencies:

Canadian dollar up 0.0013, or 0.14 per cent, at $0.9480 (U.S.)

U.S. dollar index up 0.09 at 84.28

Bonds:

U.S. 10-year Treasury yield 2.65 per cent, down 0.07

Canada 10-year government bond yield 2.47 per cent, unchanged

ECONOMIC INDICATORS TO WATCH:

Statistics Canada said housing starts fell 2.5 per cent to an annualized rate of 199,586 in June from May. Economists were expecting a 5 per cent drop to 190,000.

STOCKS TO WATCH:

Research In Motion Ltd. holds annual meeting in Waterloo, Ont. Shareholders will vote on name change to BlackBerry, and executives likely to be probed about the outlook for the company after its poor fiscal first-quarter earnings. The stock is up 1 per cent in the premarket.

Alcoa Inc. late Monday reported adjusted earnings of 7 cents a share on revenues of $5.85-billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of 6 cents. Revenues met expectations. Shares are up 0.3 per cent in the premarket.

The Jean Coutu Group said adjusted net profit in its latest quarter was 26 cents a share, matching analyst expectations.

Other earnings today include: Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. and Firan Technologies.

Barnes & Noble Inc. said late Monday its CEO William Lynch was resigning. Shares are down 2.8 per cent in the premarket.

Kroger Co. agreed to acquire grocery chain Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc. for about $2.44-billion. Kroger shares are up 1.4 per cent in the premarket.

THIS MORNING'S TOP INVESTING READS ON THE WEB:

Japanese stocks are marching higher and appear to be heading toward a technical bull market just weeks after falling into a technical bear market.

We're nearing the peak of the election cycle.

The world's overcapacity in steelmaking is getting worse - and profits are evaporating.

Meredith Whitney, the Oppenheimer analyst who had been hailed for her prediction of the demise of Citigroup, has lost half her client base after failing to make a repeat stellar call. Five lessons to take from her fall from grace.

Why we underestimate risk by omitting time as a factor.

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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.

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