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The Before the Bell report is constantly updated to reflect the latest news developments and market moves in the premarket. Check back later for updates.

Upbeat economic figures out of Europe and China are combining with mostly favourable earnings reports this morning - and there are a lot of them - pointing to a modestly higher start for markets as trading gets underway in North America.

Copper and Shanghai equities have both registered gains of more than 1 per cent today after HSBC's flash Purchasing Managers' Index of Chinese factory activity for July rose to an 18-month high of 52. That was better than economists expectations of 51 and the bank's final reading of 50.7 in June, and added further evidence that the government's mini-stimulus measures have helped reverse this year's earlier slowdown in the country's economic growth rate.

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Fresh data for the euro zone was similarly encouraging, with the flash composite PMI coming in at 54.0, up from a six-month low of 52.8 in June and well above the 50 level that separates expansion from contraction.

The U.S. will be releasing its own flash PMI data later this morning, as well as new home sales. Weekly jobless claims came in lower than expected.

But the main focus of today's trading action will likely be on the avalanche of both U.S. and Canadian earnings out today. We highlight how some of the largest companies did below in our Stocks to Watch section. Overall, this earnings season hasn't disappointed. In the U.S., nearly 48 per cent of the S&P 500's market cap have reported second-quarter earnings so far, with earnings excluding financials surprising to the upside by 3.7 per cent and revenues beating by 0.6 per cent, according to RBC.

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



Futures: S&P 500 +0.15 per cent; Dow +0.15 per cent; Nasdaq +0.28 per cent; S&P/TSX +0.03 per cent

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Hong Kong's Hang Seng +0.71 per cent

Shanghai composite index +1.28 per cent

Japan's Nikkei -0.29 per cent

London's FTSE 100 +0.07 per cent

Germany's DAX +0.49 per cent

France's CAC 40 +0.77 per cent

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Stoxx 600 +0.33 per cent


WTI crude oil (Nymex Sep) -0.34 per cent at $102.77 (U.S.) a barrel

Gold (Comex Dec) -0.38 per cent at $1,301.50 (U.S.) an ounce

Copper (Comex Sep) +1.26 per cent at $3.25 (U.S.) a pound


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Canadian dollar at 93.24 (U.S.), up 0.0001

U.S. dollar index down 0.03 at 80.78


U.S. 10-year Treasury yield 2.49 per cent, up 0.02


U.S. initial jobless claims for last week fell to 284,000, below the 307,000 that was expected and the previous week's 302,000.

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(945 a.m. ET) U.S. Market Flash Manufacturing PMI fro July.

(10 a.m. ET) U.S. new home sales for June, forecast to fall 4.8 per cent to an annual rate of 480,000.


Potash Corp. reported quarterly EPS of 56 cents (Canadian), beating the Street expectation of 46 cents. It also raised its full-year earnings outlook. U.S. shares are up nearly 5 per cent in the premarket.

Encana reported quarterly EPS of 23 cents, missing Street expectations by a penny.

Rogers Communications reported adjusted EPS 84 cents, matching Street views.

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Loblaw reported quarterly EPS of 75 cents (Canadian), versus expectations of 67 cents.

Domtar reported adjusted earnings of 61 cents a share, down from 65 cents a year earlier.

Caterpillar reported Q2 EPS of $1.69 (U.S.) versus the Street estimate of $1.52. But revenue disappointed and the company cited sales weakness in China and in the Africa/Middle East region. Shares are down 2 per cent in the premarket.

Ford Motor reported adjusted Q2 EPS of 40 cents, beating the Street view of 38 cents. Revenues of $37.40-billion also beat the Street consensus of $36.13-billion.

General Motors reported Q2 EPS of 58 cents versus the Street estimate of 59 cents. It warned recall costs will rise. Shares are down 2.4 per cent in the premarket.

Teck Resources reported adjusted profit of 13 cents cents, down from 34 cents a year earlier. Revenue fell 6.6 per cent. But results were close to with expectations.

Precision Drilling reported a quarterly loss of 2 cents per share, worse than the zero cents per share expected by the Street. The company also raised its 2014 capital budget by 12 per cent to $934-million (Canadian).

Husky Energy Inc reported a 4 per cent increase in second-quarter earnings, helped by an 8 per cent rise in production.

3M reported Q2 EPS of $1.91 (U.S.) versus expectations of $1.91.

American Airlines reported Q2 adjusted EPS of $1.98 (U.S.) versus expectations for $1.96.

Bristol-Myers Squibb reported Q2 adjusted EPS of 48 cents (U.S.) versus expectations of 45 cents.

Hershey reported Q2 adjusted EPS of 76 cents, matching Street views.

Eli Lilly reported Q2 adjusted EPS of 68 cents (U.S.) versus expectations of 65 cents.

Union Pacific reported Q2 EPS of $1.43, matching Street forecasts.

D.R. Horton Inc, the No.1 U.S. homebuilder, reported a 28 percent rise in third-quarter homebuilding revenue and the company said orders rose 25 percent.

Facebook shares are up about 7 per cent in the premarket after releasing earnings late Wednesday that beat expectations on both the top and bottom line.

Other earnings today include: Canfor Corp.; Domtar; Imax; Mullen Group; Precision Drilling; RDM Corp.; Transforce; 3M;; AmerisourceBergen; Cabot Oil & Gas; Celgene; Cliffs Natural Resources; Coca-Cola Enterprises; Diamond Offshore Drilling; Dr. Pepper Snapple Group; Dunkin' Brands Group; GNC Holdings; Investors Bancorp; Jarden; KLA-Tencor; Marriott Vacations Worldwide; Nucor; Precision Castparts; Raytheon; Royal Caribbean Cruises; Southwest Airlines; Starbucks; Starwood Hotels & Resorts; Supervalu; Union Pacific; Visa.

Bombardier said late Wednesday it will reorganize its business structure and cut 1,800 jobs as it struggles with C Series delays, and it said the head of its aerospace division would retire.


Several analysts have raised price targets on Facebook after the company beat earnings expectations late Wednesday. Evercore Partners, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, and Piper Jaffray raised their targets to $90 (U.S.); Jefferies boosted its target to $100, RBC Dominion Securities raised its target to $92; and Janney Capital raised its target to $82.50.


For instant headlines on breaking economic and corporate news in the premarket, follow Darcy Keith on Twitter at @eyeonequities.

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