Apple's shares jumped in after hours trading after the company reported better-than-expected earnings. EBay though fell as it reported weaker than expected numbers. Earnings due on Thursday include Nokia, CIT, SunTrust, Lockheed Martin, Comerica, Keycorp and Baxter. After the bell, Google and Microsoft are expected to report, along with AMD.
Data Thursday includes 8:30 a.m. weekly jobless claims, forecast at 540,000. Also anticipated in the morning are housing starts at 8:30 a.m. and the FHFA Home Price Index at 10 a.m.
Foreign exchange markets were rocking Wednesday as the dollar was lower across the board. British sterling rebounded from a 23-year low as speculation spread that G7 could address the currency at its next meeting. The dollar meanwhile fell 1 percent against the euro, which also made a comeback move, and 0.37 percent against the yen.
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Some of the speculation about G7 started with a comment from the French finance minister, who complained of sterling's weakness. "I think most people would agree the G7 are not going to take a side in the debate. Sterling is doing what the G7 wanted it to do which is let the market determine its value," said Marc Chandler, chief currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman. Chandler said Trichet also made comments about discussing currency at G7.
"The one who is quiet in this, and perhaps it's a time zone issue, is Japan on the appreciation of the yen. It appreciated 30 percent on a trade-weighted basis since August," said Chandler.
Chandler said there was some focus in the currency markets on Geithner's testimony, but Chandler thinks it is too soon to draw any conclusions. "Geithner looks like he could be the first Treasury Secretary since (Larry) Summers that did not say the words "strong dollar." I don't think that's important. Congress didn't ask him and reporters didn't ask him."
Chandler noted that Geithner did say currencies should be determined by markets. "The biggest challenge for the U.S. is not a weak currency. It is a strong one. If it were to continue.. Say the euro goes below $1.20 and sterling goes below $1.30, the strong currency offsets part of the monetary stimulus," he said.
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