Positive data keeps the bulls in charge
David Russell | [email protected]
S&P 500 futures are up about one-third of a percent, while most European indexes are higher by about 1 percent. Asian stocks were mostly higher overnight.
China reported a surprise trade deficit in March as imports surged 14 percent, stunning economists who had expected a surplus. Investors like the news, viewing it as evidence that consumer spending is finally starting to accelerate in the world's most populous country. French industrial production also beat forecasts.
There are few important data points in the United States today, although the Federal Reserve will release minutes from its last meeting at 2 p.m. ET. Attention turns to the consumer in the next two sessions, with same-store sales, retail data, and sentiment on the calendar.
The S&P 500 closed near its 52-week high yesterday and remains less than 1 percent below its all-time peak from 2007. Other key indexes have already broken out into record territory, and pullbacks have been shallow all year. The key question now facing traders is whether to put capital to work at these levels or to hope for better prices.
Currencies are modestly bullish today, though the picture is less clear for commodities. The euro, Canadian dollar, and Australian dollar are all higher against the greenback, while the Japanese yen is down across the board. Energy and metals are lower, with the exception of a 1 percent gain for natural gas.
In company-specific news, Family Dollar is down about 4 percent after profit missed forecasts and management predicted weak comparable-store sales. Realogy is down 7 percent after issuing a weak preliminary revenue number and announcing that controlling investors will sell shares.