Options Trading News

June 21, 2013  Fri 7:12 AM CT

Stocks are poised to rebound today from their sharpest drop of the year yesterday.

S&P 500 futures are up more than three-quarters of a percent amid gains of a similar magnitude in Europe. Asia was mixed in the overnight session despite weakness in the United States, with Japan's Nikkei up 1.7 percent while China fell half a percent.

The S&P 500 plunged 2.5 percent yesterday after momentum sellers piled in following Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's hawkish comments Wednesday afternoon. The decline brought the index to its lowest level since May 2 and marked the first decisive break of its 50-day moving average all year.

Fears about higher interest rates, combined with simple profit-taking after seven winning months, have been the main catalyst for the recent drop. It has brought the index back to a potential support level where it consolidated above the previous all-time highs. Investors must now decide whether to get long at this point or to look for a steeper correction.

There are few scheduled events that can serve as potential catalysts. No economic events on today's calendar, and most of next week's data consists of regional Fed reports. Consumer prices and home prices on Tuesday could be the biggest items. Companies may also begin issuing pre-announcements as the end of the second quarter approaches.

Commodities are following the bounce in equities as oil and copper gain about half a percent. Agricultural foodstuffs are modestly lower and precious metals are mixed. Currencies are less decisive, with the euro lower but the Australian dollar higher. Perhaps the most important move is the decline the Japanese yen, which is generally supportive of risk taking.

In company-specific news software giant Oracle is indicated lower after reporting weak quarterly revenue. Drug developer Idenix Pharmaceuticals is down after the Food and Drug Administration sought additional data before allowing clinical trials of its IDX20963 drug for the treatment of Hepatitis C. Chinese semiconductor stock Spreadtrum Communications is also shooting higher after receiving a takeover offer.
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