Futures rise; Economic data in focus

August 15, 2014

New York (Aug 15)  U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher start to Wall Street trade on Friday, with global markets calmer after mollifying remarks from Russian President Vladimir Putin about Ukraine.

The economic data flow resumed in the U.S. on Friday, starting with the Producer Price Index that rose 0.1 percent in July, in line with expectations.The Empire State Manufacturing Index fell in August. Industrial Production rose 0.4 percent, with the highest rate of utilization since June 2006.

Futures dipped before continuing a positive trend after the reports.

Stock watch

Estee Lauder moved higher in pre-market trading after the beauty products maker reported fiscal fourth quarter profit of 66 cents per share, beating estimates by ten cents, with revenue also above forecasts. The company said it had a strong quarter despite slower industry growth in some key countries.will post results before Wall Street opens on Friday.

Two major grocery store chains—Supervalu and Jewel-Osco—on Friday said they may have been adversely affected by computer data breaches.

Late on Thursday, Coca-Cola announced the purchase of a 16.7 percent stake in Monster Beverage with a net cash payment of $2.15 billion. Coke shares rose 1.3 percent in after-hours trade; Monster shares spiked by as much as 36 percent.

"They're both winners in this one. Coke certainly needs growth and its own energy brands ... have really been nonstarters around the world," said Bill Chappell, a managing director at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, in a CNBC interview.

Activist investor Carl Icahn also reported a 6.6 percent stake in Gannetton Thursday, saying his firm took the stake on the view that splitting the media company into separate print and broadcast firms could create value, a regulatory filing showed Thursday.

Geopolitical events

In a speech in Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in March, Russian President Vladimir Putin struck a conciliatory tone: "We will do everything in our power so that this conflict is ended as soon as possible, so that the blood can stop flowing in Ukraine." The 280-truck Russian convoy is said to have arrived close to the border with eastern Ukraine, near a crossing point controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

Over in the Middle East, a new truce remains in effect after Israel and Palestinian factions agreed to extend the ceasefire for five more days on Wednesday.

U.S. markets closed at August highs on Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq all closing 0.4 percent higher. NetApp led gains on better-than-expected results.

Source: CNBC

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