U.S. equity-index futures advanced, commodities gained and the euro strengthened before data that may show U.S. home sales near a two-year high and as Oracle Corp. (ORCL) beat profit estimates.
Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures added 0.2 percent as of 11:38 a.m. in London, signaling the equity gauge may climb for the fourth time in five days. Software producer Oracle gained 2.1 percent in pre-market New York trading. The euro climbed versus most of its peers and the Standard & Poor’s GSCI (SPGSCI) gauge of commodities advanced 0.1 percent. Data may show purchases of existing U.S. homes climbed 0.9 percent in February, economist estimates compiled by Bloomberg show. Oracle, the largest maker of database software, said yesterday that profit excluding certain costs rose to 62 cents a share, exceeding the average analyst estimate of 56 cents. U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is presenting his annual budget to lawmakers today.
“For the U.S. and more recently for the U.K. economy, people seem to be more bullish,” said Tim Barker, the head of credit research at Societe Generale SA in London.
S&P 500 futures rose to 1,402.8 after the index of U.S. equities fell 0.3 percent yesterday to 1,405.52. Redwood City, California-based Oracle climbed to $30.75 in trading before the New York market opened, up 65 cents from yesterday’s closing price.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index was little changed at 269.05. Banco Popolare SC (BP), Italy’s fifth-biggest bank, gained 4.1 percent after saying its core Tier 1 ratio, a key measure of financial health, rose to 7.1 percent. J Sainsbury Plc (SBRY) climbed 2.9 percent as the U.K.’s third-largest supermarket owner reported fourth-quarter sales growth that beat estimates.
U.S. home purchases probably rose to a 4.61 million annual rate, the fastest since May 2010, from 4.57 million in January, according to the median forecast of 77 economists. An advance would be the fourth in five months.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in a report that global stocks are set to follow a “steady upward trajectory.” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will tell Congress today that financial strains in Europe have eased.
Bernanke will say Europe must further strengthen its banks and that its financial and economic situation “remains difficult” even as stresses have lessened, according to testimony he’s scheduled to deliver to U.S. lawmakers.
The euro strengthened gained 0.1 percent to $1.3235 and climbed against all but four of its 16 most-traded peers.
The German 10-year bund fell, driving the yield one basis point higher to 2.05 percent, before the government sells as much as 5 billion euros of two-year notes and as much as 2 billion euros of 2023 index-linked bonds.
Portugal is auctioning 119- and 364-day bills, while Sweden issues securities due in June 2022. The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield was little changed at 2.36 percent, while gilt yields held at 2.43 percent.
The cost of insuring European sovereign bonds fell, with the Markit iTraxx SovX Western Europe Index of credit-default swaps on 15 governments declining 2.5 basis points to 268.5.
New York oil rose 0.4 percent $106.45 a barrel after falling 2.3 percent yesterday and copper gained 0.2 percent to $8,447.5 a metric ton. Data showed U.S. crude supplies shrank by 1.4 million barrels last week, according to the American Petroleum Institute. The Energy Department may say today that inventories climbed by 2.2 million barrels, a Bloomberg News survey showed.
“Given improving conditions in the U.S., copper doesn’t have much downside,” said Xiong Dabiao, an analyst at Minmetals Futures Co. in Shanghai.
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index (MXEF) was little changed at 1,049.5 after falling for four straight days. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index (HSCEI) of Chinese shares listed in Hong Kong fell 0.9 percent, its sixth straight decline in its longest losing streak since Dec. 15.
The Kospi Index (KOSPI) slid 0.7 percent in Seoul, as Hyundai Steel Co. fell 3.4 percent on concern over falling growth in China. The BSE India Sensitive Index, or Sensex (SENSEX), added 1.5 percent as overseas funds bought a record amount of local shares. The Micex Index (MICEX) jumped 0.7 percent in Russia as oil gained.
“People are starting to realize that there is gradual growth in the economy,” said Kei Katayama, who invests in U.S. bonds at Tokyo-based Daiwa SB Investments Ltd., which oversees the equivalent of $59.2 billion of assets.