Options Trading News

September 17, 2013  Tue 7:13 AM CT

Stocks are little-changed this morning as the market holds its breath for the Federal Reserve's announcement tomorrow afternoon.

S&P 500 futures are down less than 0.1 percent. European indexes are trying to rebound from their lows of the session but are mostly down less than 0.5 percent. Asia was mostly lower in the overnight session, led by a 2 percent decline in Shanghai.

Investors expect the Fed to announce a reduction in the amount of Treasury bonds it purchases, a belief that has driven interest rates to their highest levels since the summer of 2011. The big question now facing traders is how much the news is priced into the market. Surveys and media reports indicate $15 billion of tapering is expected this month.

The S&P 500 closed yesterday less than 1 percent below its previous all-time high from early August, led by economically sensitive sectors including industrials and materials. Gains have been broadly dispersed across the market in recent months, with no single group dominating performance. Car-rental companies, health insurers, cruise-ship operators, and airlines have been especially strong, according to our researchLAB market scanner.

Earlier today, Germany's Zew survey of economic sentiment rose to 49.6, well above the 46 reading forecast by economists. Today's only release in the United States, consumer prices at 8:30 a.m. ET, is unlikely to have a big impact on sentiment. Adobe Systems also reports earnings after the closing bell this afternoon.

Trading is modestly bullish in the foreign-exchange markets as the euro and Australian dollar continue to advance. Both tend to be positively correlated with stocks and materials. The Japanese yen, which tends to move in the opposite direction, is down modestly across the board.

Commodities are mixed, with oil down fractionally and precious metals slightly higher. Grains are rallying, with corn is up 2 percent and soybeans and wheat up 1 percent.

In stock-specific news, Outerwall is indicated to fall 18 percent after cutting its earnings guidance. The company was formerly known as Coinstar. Kythera Biopharmaceuticals surged 28 percent after announcing positive Phase III results for its ATX-101 compound. 
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