Stock Market Today - Eyes on the European Central Bank

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- As expected, the European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged at their record lows. All eyes are focused on the ECB's news conference, with positive economic reports out of Europe of late and bond yields advancing after a higher-than-expected inflation reading.

This morning, we saw unemployment falling in the EU, though the eurozone showed some lost momentum in business growth, via its PMI reading of 53.6 in May, below April's 53.9.

We have droned on about the continued Greek debt drama that continues to play out between Greece, the International Monetary Fund and its eurozone creditors. Partially based on that uncertainty, the OECD announced a cut to its forecast for the world economy to 3.1% growth in 2015, down from the 3.7% growth it had forecast back in October.

European stocks and U.S. stock futures were higher this morning, while stocks in Asia were weaker.

Some earnings calls of note today include Vera Bradley (VRA), Five Below (FIVE), and Growth Seeker holding Verint Systems (VRNT).

We have a busy economic calendar today:

At 8:15 a.m. - the May ADP Employment Change, with consensus at 200,000

At 8:30 a.m. - ECB chairman Mario Draghi will speak to the press.

At 9:45 a.m. - the May Markit US Composite PMI

At 10 a.m. - the May ISM Non-Manufacturing Composite, with consensus at 57

At 10:30 a.m. - DOE Energy Inventories

At 2 p.m. - The Fed's Beige Book

Happy trading!

  • Eurozone hiring increased at the fastest pace in four years, just as business growth lost a little momentum, PMI data for the single currency area show. Markit's final composite Purchasing Managers' Index, seen as a good guide to growth, stood at 53.6 in May, above an earlier flash reading of 53.4 but below April's 53.9. Service firms increased headcount at the fastest rate since November 2010; the employment sub-index was 52.6, up from 51.8.
  • New business in the Chinese services sector increased at the fastest pace in three years in May, service PMI data show. The headline HSBC/Markit Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for May was 53.5, up from 52.9 in April and well above the 50-point level that separates expansion from contraction. The new business sub-component was at 54.4, up from 52.8 in April and the highest reading since 54.7 in May 2012.
  • Greece will not pay the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday if it does not have the prospect of a deal on extending its bailout, a spokesman for the ruling Syriza party was quoted as saying. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is due to go to Brussels later on Wednesday to speak about a deal agreed by the creditors among themselves.
  • OPEC is set to maintain output unchanged, a delegate at the cartel's meeting told Reuters. "There is consensus among Gulf OPEC countries, and others, to keep the ceiling unchanged," the senior Gulf OPEC delegate said after an informal meeting of the four core Gulf Arab OPEC members on Tuesday. 
  • Shop prices in the U.K. fell by 1.9% year on year in May, data from the British Retail Consortium show. The BRC figures show prices falling much faster than the broader consumer price inflation measure targeted by the Bank of England. The CPI includes faster-rising costs such as utility bills, entertainment, healthcare and university tuition. Meanwhile, U.K. house price growth slowed to a near two-year low in May, when they increased by 4.6% year on year.

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