Stock Futures Rebound After Alcoa Beat


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U.S. stock-index futures jumped on Wednesday on the heels of a strong selloff on Wall Street as traders reacted to better-than-expected earnings from aluminum giant Alcoa.

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Today's Markets

As of 8:38 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed 88 points to 12768, S&P 500 futures rose 11.2 points to 1368 and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 19.5 points to 2717.

The Dow has been down for five days in a row, the longest losing streak since August. Over that time period, the blue-chip index has shed some 4.1%, knocking its gains for the year down to 4.1%. Market participants have grown increasingly anxious about the global economic picture and the debt crisis in Europe.

However, the markets got relatively strong news after the closing bell on Tuesday. Alcoa (NYSE:AA), which is seen as a bellwether since it is usually the first major U.S. company to report earnings, posted a first-quarter profit and revenue that beat Wall Street's expectations. The bar has been lowered to some extent, however, as many firms have pared back expectations in light of high energy prices and a slowing of economic growth in China and many major European countries.

On the economic front, import and export prices both climbed in March by the biggest margin since April 2011. Import prices rose 1.3%, topping estimates for a 0.8% increase, while export prices rose 0.8%, coming in higher than the 0.4% increase expected. The rise in exports was led by a big gain in the price of petroleum products and industrial supplies, while imports saw the biggest gains in the food and industrial supply components.

The report is the first of three on U.S. inflation due out this week. Analysts have been questioning what role soaring gasoline and oil prices have had on the broader price level.

In Europe, the yields on Spanish and Italian yet have tightened somewhat overnight. The yield on Spain's 10-year fell 0.11-percentage point to 5.86%, while Italy's dropped 0.14-percentage point to 5.54%. Traders have been paying particularly close attention to these borrowing costs again as anxiety has swelled about these countries' ability to payoff their sovereign debt while also keeping their economies afloat.

Energy futures were mixed ahead of the weekly inventory report from the Energy Department. Crude oil traded in New York rose 31 cents, or 0.3%, to $101.33 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped a penny, or 0.43%, to $3.236 a gallon.

In metals, gold fell $2.10, or 0.14%, to $1,658 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

European blue chips rallied 1.5%, the English FTSE 100 rose 0.73% to 6636 and the German DAX climbed 1.3% to 6694.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 fell 0.83% to 9459 and the Chinese Hang Seng sold off by 1.1% to 20141.

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