Stocks set to extend non-taper rally
U.S. stock index futures are pointing to further gains, after the Fed's decision to keep its bond-buying program intact sent the Dow and the S&P 500 to record highs. The Russell 2000 and the Dow Transportation average also set closing records, and the Nasdaq Composite finished at its highest in 13 years.
Today's considerably large batch of economic data will give investors more fodder to consider as they turn their attention to possible Fed action at the next policy meeting on October 29 and 30.
The action starts at 8:30 a.m. ET, with the Labor Department's weekly report on initial jobless claims. Economists expect 330,000 new claims for the week ending September 14, and they'll also be looking for a significant revision in last week's 292,000, which was artificially low due to the failure of two states to report their data.
At the same time, the government is out with the second quarter current account deficit, seen at $97.0 billion compared to the first quarter shortfall of $106.1 billion.
At 10 a.m. ET, the National Association of Realtors will issue August existing home sales, expected to come in at an annual rate of 5.24 million compared to the July rate of 5.39 million. At the same time, we'll also get the September Philadelphia Fed survey, with the monthly index seen rising to 9.5 from August's 9.3. The Conference Board's Index of Leading Economic Indicators is also out at 10 a.m. ET, with consensus forecasts calling for a 0.7 percent increase for August on top of July's 0.6 percent rise.
At 10:30 a.m. ET, the Energy Department will be out with its weekly look at natural gas inventories.
Oracle (ORCL) leads our list of stocks to watch, reporting fiscal first quarter profit of 59 cents per share,, three cents above estimates. Revenue was short of Street estimates, and the software company also issued weaker than expected guidance for the current quarter.
McDonald's (MCD) raised its quarterly dividend by 5 percent to 81 cents per share, continuing its practice of raising its dividend yearly.
Walt Disney (DIS) has bumped the release of the Pixar film "The Good Dinosaur" to November 2015, meaning that there will be no Pixar films released in 2014. That would be the first year since 2005 that no new Pixar film has been released.
OfficeMax (OMX) chief executive Ravi Saligram has decided not to be considered for the CEO post following the planned merger of OfficeMax and Office Depot (ODP).
Boeing (BA) will close the Long Beach, CA assembly plant that produces its C-17 Globemaster III military cargo jet in 2015. That could result in as many as 3,000 job cuts.
Dish Network (DISH) won a court victory when a judge denied a Walt Disney (DIS) request to halt use of Dish's "Hopper". That system lets users skip commercials when watching a recorded show.
Sony (SNE) set a goal of selling five million PlayStation 5 game consoles within five months of its planned February 22 launch.
JPMorgan Chase (JPM) is likely to be the lead underwriter in a Chrysler IPO, according to CNBC's Kate Kelly. Separately, U.S. and U.K. regulators are expected today to announce a settlement into their civil investigations into the "London Whale" incident, in which JPMorgan suffered a multibillion dollar trading loss.
Wells Fargo (WFC) is cutting 1,800 jobs in its mortgage business, due to a drop in mortgage refinancing volume.