Options Trading News

April 12, 2013  Fri 7:16 AM CT

Stocks are pulling back today as investors take profits at record highs.

S&P 500 futures are down by more than 0.3 percent, while European indexes are falling by 0.5 percent to 1.3 percent. Most Asian bourses also fell overnight.

The selling occurs after the S&P 500 closed above its previous all-time highs from 2007 on Wednesday and Thursday. It also precedes key retail data at 8:30 a.m. ET, and a busy week of corporate earnings next week. JP Morgan had mixed results in today's big report.

The S&P 500 is already up 12 percent so far this year, propelled by an improving economic outlook and a gradual shift of investor sentiment back toward equities and away from fixed income. The two pullbacks that have occurred so far have been shallow, with the index remaining above its 50-day moving average.

Attention will shift toward corporate results for the rest of April as earnings season works its way up to full pace. Next week's big reports include blue-chip names such as Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola, Intel, Bank of America, and American Express.

JP Morgan's profit beat expectations this morning, but revenue missed consensus estimates. The stock is down almost 1 percent in early trading. Wells Fargo had similar results.

Most commodities and currencies are painting a bearish picture. Oil, gold, and silver are down by more than a full percentage point, and copper is lower by almost the same margin. Agricultural foodstuffs, however, are ticking higher. The euro is also lower while the Japanese yen is gaining across the board.

Elsewhere in company-specific news, chemical producer Ashland is up 4 percent after hedge fund Jana Partners disclosed that it was building a large stake in the company. Coal miner Walter Energy also gained, saying its volumes and pricing have improved. Military contractor Harris is down 7 percent after saying that federal budget cuts would push results below estimates.
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