LONDON (ShareCast) - -Deutsche Bank (Xetra: 514000 - news) expects Fed to extend operation 'Twist'. -Iran's Supreme leader says talk of sanctions is delusional. -Iran's Supreme leader welcomes diplomatic 'window of opportunity'. Dow Jones Industrial: 0.29% Nasdaq Composite (Nasdaq: ^IXIC - news) : 0.45% S&P 500 (SNP: ^GSPC - news) : 0.48% The main US equity benchmarks have opened higher by 0.5%. That ahead of tomorrow's results of the Greek government's debt exchange offer and despite the release of some worse than expected weekly unemployment claims numbers a moment ago. For his part, European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi has just announced that the ECB has downgraded its growth projections for the euro area in 2012, while adding that risks remain to the downside. In parallel, the Eurozone monetary authority now sees consumer prices rising by between 2.1% and 2.7% this year, versus the between 1.5% and 2.5% previously envisaged. Tellingly perhaps, the current level of interest rates was not discussed. Restaurant giant Mc.Donald's has just unveiled a 7.5% increase in its February same-store sales world-wide, below analysts' expectations. The company's shares are the second worst performer on the S&P 500 today. Insurer AIG is the biggest faller today. The US treasury is selling $6bn worth of shares in the company. Of note, there is a report in today's Wall Street Journal to the effect that the government may sue Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL - news) and other publishers. Results from William Sonoma and Navistar have come in mixed. Fender Musical Instruments has filed for a $200m initial public offering (IPO).
From a sector stand-point the best performers now are: clothing&accessories (1.97%), auto parts (1.63%) and business training (1.61%). MACROECONOMY Weekly US initial unemployment claims rose by 8,000 to 362,000 (Consensus: 351,000). Job cut announcements at 51,700 in February, versus 53,500 in January, according to Challenger. OTHER MARKETS Front month West Texas crude futures are now declining by 0.20% to the $105.98/barrel mark. 10 year US Treasuries are now flat, with yields at 1.98%. S&P 500 - Risers Coach Inc (NYSE: COH - news) . (COH) $76.60 +4.37% Monster Worldwide Inc (NYSE: MWW - news) . (MWW) $8.64 +3.72% Citrix Systems Inc. (CTXS) $73.92 +2.92% First Solar Inc (NasdaqGS: FSLR - news) . (FSLR) $26.54 +2.87% Cintas Corp (NasdaqGS: CTAS - news) . (CTAS) $39.03 +2.66% CBS Corp (NYSE: RBV - news) . (CBS) $30.57 +2.62% Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD) $46.65 +2.57% Corning Inc (NYSE: GLW - news) . (GLW) $13.27 +2.43% Newell Rubbermaid Inc. (NWL) $17.90 +2.40% Motorola Solutions Inc (MSI) $52.71 +2.10% S&P 500 - Fallers American International Group Inc. (AIG) $28.44 -3.43% McDonald's Corp. (MCD) $96.84 -3.33% Pall Corp (NYSE: PLL - news) . (PLL) $59.73 -2.32% Peabody Energy Corp (NYSE: BTU - news) . (BTU) $30.69 -1.57% Assurant Inc (NYSE: AIZ - news) . (AIZ) $41.75 -1.39% AFLAC Inc. (AFL) $44.72 -1.28% Simon Property Group Inc. (SPG (KOSDAQ: 058610.KQ - news) ) $136.48 -1.26% ProLogis (Dusseldorf: 916384.DU - news) (PLD) $33.80 -1.20% Public Storage (Dusseldorf: PUP.DU - news) (PSA) $129.58 -1.11% Pepco Holdings Inc. (POM) $19.35 -1.10% Dow Jones I.A - Risers JP Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) $40.68 +1.83% Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) $39.37 +1.29% General Electric Co. (GE) $19.01 +1.28% Boeing Co (NYSE: BA - news) . (BA) $74.38 +1.17% Merck (Xetra: A0YD8Q - news) & Co. Inc. (MRK) $37.72 +1.10% Johnson & Johnson (TLO: JNJ-U.TI - news) (JNJ) $64.97 +1.04% 3M Co. (MMM) $86.35 +1.03% Walt Disney Co. (DIS (SNP: ^DISY - news) ) $42.17 +1.01% Cisco Systems Inc (NasdaqGS: CSCO - news) . (CSCO) $19.58 +0.90% E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. (DD) $50.67 +0.88% Dow Jones I.A - Fallers McDonald's Corp. (MCD) $96.84 -3.33% Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE: XOM - news) . (XOM) $85.05 -0.91% Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) $59.56 -0.50% Intel Corp (NasdaqGS: INTC - news) . (INTC) $26.82 -0.33% Travelers Company Inc. (TRV) $56.76 -0.19% Nasdaq 100 (Nasdaq: ^NDX - news) - Risers Citrix Systems Inc. (CTXS) $73.92 +2.92% First Solar Inc. (FSLR) $26.54 +2.87% Cintas Corp. (CTAS) $39.03 +2.66% Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD) $46.65 +2.57% Adobe Systems Inc (NasdaqGS: ADBE - news) . (ADBE) $33.08 +2.07% Seagate Technology Plc (STX (KSE: 011810.KS - news) ) $28.16 +1.96% Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. (CTSH) $72.39 +1.83% Starbucks Corp (NasdaqGS: SBUX - news) . (SBUX) $50.37 +1.78% Sears Holdings Corp (NasdaqGS: SHLD - news) . (SHLD) $75.17 +1.72% Baidu Inc (NasdaqGS: BIDU - news) . (BIDU) $137.19 +1.67% Nasdaq 100 - Fallers Expedia Inc (NasdaqGS: EXPE - news) . (EXPE) $32.55 -1.03% Oracle Corp. (ORCL) $29.97 -0.84% Yahoo (NasdaqGS: YHOO - news) ! Inc. (YHOO) $14.56 -0.41% Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) $16.45 -0.36% Intel Corp. (INTC) $26.82 -0.33% Nll Holdings Inc. (NIHD) $16.94 -0.24% FLIR Systems Inc (NasdaqGS: FLIR - news) . (FLIR) $25.87 -0.19% KLA-Tencor Corp. (KLAC) $47.55 -0.17% Maxim Integrated Products Inc. (MXIM) $27.53 -0.13% Illumina Inc. (ILMN) $50.42 -0.08%