Market News

March 19, 2013  Tue 7:13 AM CT

Equities are trying to gain this morning as investors await more news from Cyprus.

S&P 500 futures have been pushing higher in the last hour, while most European indexes are trying to erase earlier losses. Asian markets were mixed, but Japan continued to show remarkable strength as momentum buyers drove up the Nikkei by more than 2 percent. Shanghai also advanced almost 1 percent, though Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell marginally.

The market is sitting once again near long-term highs, supported by an improving global economy and abundant cash on the sidelines. There was a scare yesterday after Eurozone officials tried to impose an onerous bailout package on Cyprus, funded by raiding private bank accounts. Now there are major doubts that the measure will pass the country's parliament, raising fears that the country is vulnerable to financial crisis.

Nonetheless, other news in Europe is positive: Germany's ZEW survey of investor sentiment beat economist forecasts, Spain had a better-than-expected short-term debt auction, and Italian industrial production posted a surprise increase.

In the United States, attention will focus on the release of housing starts and building permits at 8:30 a.m. ET, followed by the Federal Reserve's announcement of monetary policy tomorrow afternoon.

Commodities and currencies are providing no clear signals. Oil is mixed and metals are slightly lower, but most agricultural foodstuffs are higher. The euro is little changed and is trying to hold support at a key level from December. The Australian and Canadian dollars are also lower, along with the Japanese yen.

In company-specific news, Lululemon is indicated to open lower after announcing it would withdraw women's yoga pants, causing a "significant impact" on financial results. Retailer DSW is also falling after fourth-quarter earnings missed expectations. 
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