Stock Futures Dip After Huge Japan Rally

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were slipping Wednesday on the heels of a strong rally in Japan as the the prospect of looser monetary policy there has failed to carried over into investor confidence in the United States.

The gap up Wednesday on the Nikkei came a day after Bank of Japan Gov. Masaaki Shirakawa told reporters in Tokyo that he would step down on March 19, likely paving the way for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to implement a greater quantitative easing policy he has pushed for in recent months.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were off 29 points, or 0.21%, at 13,881. Futures for the S&P 500 were falling 4 points, or 0.28%, to 1502. Nasdaq futures were shedding 12 points, or 0.42% with a fair value of 2738.

"Japan has been hot on the hopes of more quantitative easing and, again, today it's one of the biggest days of the year," said Ryan Detrick, senior technical strategist with Schaeffer's Investment Research. "Clearly people continue to buy the yen; the yen continues to drop massively, and that's creating a pretty good bid for the Nikkei and for their stocks."

Asian markets surged on Wednesday as the rally in Japan encouraged momentum in most of the major markets there. Japan's Nikkei average rose 3.8% overnight to close at 11464. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.47% to 23,257.

The FTSE 100 was losing 0.02% on Wednesday, despite earlier gains, as the residue from Japan's spike wore off. The DAX in Germany was sinking 1.41% after manufacturing orders there printed a little lighter than expected.

Manufacturing orders for Germany in December rose 0.8% against a 1.8% drop in November, but failed to beat economists' expectations of about 1%.

There is little major economic data expected to be released in the U.S. on Wednesday, except for crude inventories at 10:30 a.m. EST.

Gold futures for April delivery were ticking higher by $4.70 to $1,678.20 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while futures for March crude oil contracts were lower by $1.44 cents to $95.20 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was adding 8/32, diluting the yield to 1.976%. The dollar was up 0.33%, according to the U.S. dollar index .

In corporate news, Walt Disney ( DIS) announced fiscal first-quarter profit dipped slightly but beat expectations. The company earned 77 cents a share on revenue of $11.3 billion. Shares were rising 2.4% in premarket trading.

Royal Bank of Scotland ( RBS) is expected to pay some 400 million pounds ($627 million) for a role it played in the LIBOR global interest-rate rigging scandal, Reuters reported, citing sources familiar with the situation. Shares gained 2.5% on Tuesday.

Time Warner ( TWX) reported adjusted fourth-quarter earnings of $1.17 a share on revenue of $8.16 billion. Analysts expected the company that owns CNN and HBO to post fourth-quarter earnings of $1.10 a share on revenue of $8.25 billion. Shares were rising 3.1% in premarket trading.

CVS Caremark ( BAC) on Wednesday posted fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.14 a share; analysts were looking for $1.10 a share.

Zynga ( ZNGA) beat Wall Street expectations on Tuesday as the company reported a profit of 1 cent a share on revenue of $311.1 million for the fourth quarter. Analysts expected a loss of about 2 to 4 cents a share on revenue of $255 to $265 million. Shares were popping 4% in the premarket session.

Chipotle Mexican Grill ( CMG) said its fourth-quarter earnings rose 7% as same-store sales grew 3.8% due to better customer traffic. Shares of the company fell 0.99% premarket.

Media giant News Corp ( NWSA) will report quarterly earnings on Wednesday as the Street expected a profit of 42 cents a share on revenue of $9.28 billion. Shares closed higher by 1.5% on Tuesday, and climbed 0.25% in after hours.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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