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Before the bell: Stock futures lower, Amazon shares dive

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.

Stock futures are pointing lower this morning, with traders reluctant to press equity markets further into record high territory ahead of a weekend that could bring fresh developments on the geopolitical front and a week ahead that will see the release of the key U.S. jobs report and a meeting of the Federal Reserve.

The earnings calendar today is much lighter after a very busy week of second-quarter corporate profits and revenue figures. While many earnings this week surprised the Street to the upside, one that didn't is Amazon.com, which reported losses nearly double that of expectations late on Thursday. Its shares are down nearly 10 per cent this morning in the U.S. premarket.

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Overnight saw some sturdy gains in Asia, where Japan's Nikkei index rose 1 per cent to its highest level in six months, thanks to the yen weakening amid inflation data that met market expectations. But European stocks are mostly in the red this morning, coming under the influence of weaker-than-expected German Ifo business sentiment figures.

Meanwhile, the situation remains tense in Gaza and the Ukraine. U.S. defense and diplomatic officials on Thursday accused Russia of firing artillery across its border into Ukraine, representing a harsh new U.S .stance against the Kremlin following the downing of the Malaysia Airlines jet last week. Russia's central bank hiked interest rates today, citing the geopolitical tensions and the potential impact on the ruble, as well as rising inflation. The European Commission submitted proposals on new Russian sanctions on Thursday.

In Gaza, the violence is not letting up, with Israeli aircraft striking 30 houses in the region early Friday, killing a leader of the militant Islamic Jihad group and two of his sons. Israel's Security Cabinet is expected to meet later today to decide whether to expand its operation or consider ideas for a cease-fire.

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

MARKETS:

Equities:

Futures: S&P 500 -0.23 per cent; Dow -0.21 per cent; Nasdaq -0.40 per cent; S&P/TSX -0.09 per cent

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Hong Kong's Hang Seng +0.31 per cent

Shanghai composite index +1.04 per cent

Japan's Nikkei +1.14 per cent

London's FTSE 100 -0.11 per cent

Germany's DAX -0.49 per cent

France's CAC 40 -0.69 per cent

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Stoxx 600 -0.10 per cent

Commodities:

WTI crude oil (Nymex Sep) -0.08 per cent at $101.99 (U.S.) a barrel

Gold (Comex Dec) +0.34 per cent at $1,297.10 (U.S.) an ounce

Copper (Comex Sep) +0.18 per cent at $3.27 (U.S.) a pound

Currencies:

Canadian dollar at 92.94 (U.S.), down 0.0012

U.S. dollar index up 0.06 at 80.93

Bonds:

U.S. 10-year Treasury yield 2.51 per cent, up 0.004

ECONOMIC INDICATORS:

U.S. durable goods orders for June rose 0.7 per cent from May, higher than the consensus forecast of a 0.5 per cent rise. It represents a bounceback after declining 0.9 per cent in May from April.

STOCKS TO WATCH:

Amazon shares are down 10 per cent in premarket trade after reporting losses nearly double that of Street projections late Thursday.

Starbucks is down 2 per cent in the premarket after late Thursday reporting a 22 per cent rise in Q2 profits and lifting its outlook - which left some investors still disappointed.

Pandora Media shares are down 7 per cent in the premarket after posting wider-than-expected losses late Thursday.

Lear today reported Q2 EPS of $2.12 (U.S.) versus the Street estimate of $1.97.

Earnings include: Capital Power; Progressive Waste.

ANALYST ACTIONS:

Canaccord Genuity upgraded Great West Lifeco to "hold" from "sell", with a $31 (Canadian) price target.

Canaccord Genuity upgraded Exco Technologies to "buy" from "hold" on margin improvement, hikes target to $13 (Canadian) from $9.25.

Benchmark upgraded Imax to "buy" from "hold" with a price target of $30.56 (U.S.).

Raymond James raised its price target on WestJet Airlines to $34 (Canadian) from $28 and maintained an "outperform" rating.

Raymond James raised its price target on Air Canada to $7.50 (Canadian) from $6.50 and maintained an "underperform" rating.

Laurentian Bank Securities initiated coverage on Denison Mines with a "buy" rating and $1.90 (Canadian) price target.

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

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About the Author
Investment Editor

Darcy Keith is The Globe and Mail's Investment Editor. He has been a business journalist since 1992 and joined the Report on Business in 2010 from Yahoo! Canada, where he was the senior editor of finance. More

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