Market Hustle: Stock Futures Rise Despite Productivity Fall

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures were rising Wednesday ahead of testimony from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen. Productivity in the U.S. fell more than expected during the first quarter while labor costs rose.

  • Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were rising 83.98 above fair value to 16,416.0 while futures for the S&P 500 were 7.13 above fair value to 1,869.0. Nasdaq futures were rising 13.34 above fair value to 3,562.0.
  • Yellen will appear before the Joint Economic Committee in Washington at 10 a.m EDT with her testimony to be scrutinized for clues on monetary policy.
  • Productivity fell 1.7% in the U.S. nonfarm business sector in the first quarter while unit labor costs rose by  4.2%. Expectations were for a 1.2% fall in nonfarm productivity and a 2.8% rise in labor costs.
  • Shares expected to see price action Wednesday include Tesla Motors (TSLA), AOL (AOL) and Chesapeake Energy (CHK). Tesla Motors is expected to post first-quarter earnings of 8 cents a share while AOL is likely to report earnings of 45 cents a share. Chesapeake Energy said first-quarter profit jumped as it reported a 47% rise in revenue and higher production. The company raised its production growth outlook for 2014 to 9% to 12%. Other companies due to report include Prudential Financial  (PRU)and Sotheby's (BID). Groupon (GRPN) said its first-quarter loss widened to 6 cents a share from a year earlier, while Walt Disney (DIS) posted second-quarter profit of $1.08 a share against 83 cents a share a year earlier.
  • First Solar (FSLR) shares rose 3.8% in premarket trading to $70.01 after the company said Tuesday that first-quarter earnings nearly doubled.
  • Chinese Internet group Alibaba filed plans for its IPO Tuesday in what is slated as one of the largest stock listings on record. Estimates for the company's worth have ranged from $115 billion to $245 billion.
  • In international markets, Germany's DAX was rising 0.68% while the FTSE was 0.14% lower. The Hang Seng closed 1.05% lower while the Nikkei shed 2.93%.
  • Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has been ordered to resign by a Thai court, which found she had abused her power.
  • Markets closed lower Tuesday after the OECD cut its global growth forecast and financial shares fell following a poor results from American International Group (AIG). 
-- By Jane Searle in New York

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