North American stock futures slid on Wednesday after U.S. fourth-quarter gross domestic product shrank, defying widespread expectations of an increase.
Investors were also awaiting a statement by the U.S. Federal Reserve later in the day. Research in Motion Ltd. shares rose about 2.5 per cent in premarket trading as the smartphone maker prepared to unveil its long-awaited BlackBerry 10.
The U.S. Commerce Department reported that the economy shrank by 0.1 per cent, hurt by the biggest cut in defence spending in 40 years, fewer exports and sluggish growth in inventories. Economists had expected growth of 1.1 per cent in the October-December period.
The euro broke above $1.35 (U.S.) for the first time since December 2011. A rise in European economic confidence, ECB crisis loan repayments and Italy's sale of five and 10-year bonds provided investors with fresh evidence of stronger sentiment in the region.
Now, here's a closer look at what's going on this morning and what's to come:
U.S. futures: S&P 500 -0.3 per cent; Dow -0.2 per cent; Nasdaq -0.14 per cent
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index +0.71 per cent
Shanghai composite index +0.98 per cent
Japan's Nikkei +2.28 per cent
London's FTSE 100 +0.06 per cent
Germany's DAX -0.12 per cent
France's CAC 40 -0.07 per cent
WTI (Nymex Mar) +0.36 per cent at $97.92 (U.S.) a barrel
Gold (Comex Apr) +0.17 per cent at $1,665.60 (U.S.) an ounce
Copper (Comex Mar) +1.15 per cent at $3.73 (U.S.) a pound
Canadian dollar down 0.0002, or 0.02 per cent, at $0.9982 (U.S.)
ECONOMIC INDICATORS TO WATCH:
(215 p.m. ET) The U.S. Federal Reserve Board makes its interest rate announcement. Economists expect the benchmark rate to remain unchanged at 0.25 per cent. Traders to focus on any language in the statement on when quantitative easing may end.
STOCKS TO WATCH:
Earnings include: AGF Management Ltd.; Boeing Co.; CGI Group Inc.; ConocoPhillips Co.; Exco Technologies Ltd.; Facebook Inc.; Fiat SpA; H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB; JDS Uniphase Corp.; Marathon Petroleum Corp.; Murphy Oil Corp.; Northrop Grumman Corp.; Qualcomm Inc.
Amazon.com Inc. shares rose 8.8 per cent to $283.30 in premarket trading. The online retailer announced a better-than-expected fourth-quarter operating income and said revenue rose 22 per cent.
THIS MORNING'S TOP INVESTING READS ON THE WEB:
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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)