Options Trading News

March 14, 2013  Thu 7:14 AM CT

Stocks are drifting higher again today as bullish momentum remains intact.

S&P 500 futures are up about 0.25 percent, while most indexes in Europe are up by 0.5 percent to 1 percent. Asian indexes were mostly higher in the overnight session, led by a 1 percent rally in Tokyo.

The SPX has advanced in eight of the last 10 sessions and is now within 2 percent of its previous all-time high in 2007. Other benchmarks, including the Russell 2000, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and Dow Jones Transportation Average, are already in record territory.

The rally has been supported by large amounts of cash coming off the sidelines and a steady flow of positive economic news. Last week, for instance, non-farm payrolls came in much better than expected, and yesterday the Commerce Department's retail-sales data blew past estimates, prompting some economists to raise their growth forecasts.

Our researchLAB analytical tool shows ongoing strength in the transportation sector, with truck makers and car-rental companies moving up the rankings in the last week. Retailers and luxury mattresses have also been strong. Oil refiners, one of the leading groups in the last year, are down the most in the last week.

Foreign-exchange markets are modestly bullish this morning, with the safe-haven Japanese yen continuing to decline. The euro is down slightly against the U.S. dollar, but the Australian dollar is higher. Commodities are mixed, with few big moves. Oil and copper are little-changed, while precious metals and agricultural foodstuffs are down.

In company-specific news, Men's Wearhouse is up after announcing it had hired Jefferies to explore strategic alternatives for its K&G stores. E*Trade Financial is indicated to fall after announcing Citadel Capital would divest its remaining shares in the company. Amazon.com is indicated lower by about 2 percent after getting downgraded to "neutral" from "overweight" by JP Morgan.
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