Options Trading News

March 20, 2013  Wed 7:16 AM CT

Stocks are poised to open higher today as a three-day pullback draws buyers to the market.

S&P 500 futures are up about one-third of a percent as of this writing, matching similar moves in Europe. Asian stocks were mixed overnight, with Japan's Nikkei closed for a holiday but China's Shanghai Composite surging more than 2 percent.

Sentiment is recovering from worries about Cyprus, where European officials wanted to fund a bank bailout by raiding private accounts. The measure met with stiff opposition, likely forcing policymakers to take a gentler stance. That's allowing the larger bullish trend to continue as an improving global economy draws capital into equities following years of bearishness.

Attention now turns to the Federal Reserve's interest-rate announcement at 12:30 p.m. ET. While the central bank is expected to leave rates unchanged, traders will glean its statement carefully for clues about plans to stimulate the economy through asset purchases.

Our researchLAB analytical tool shows a broad foundation for the momentum in equities, with strength in the last week coming from small caps, Japan, airlines, and homebuilders. Over the last month, financials, retailers, and energy have also contributed.

Commodity and foreign-exchange markets are painting a bullish picture this morning. Oil and copper, which tends to correlate most closely with economic sentiment, are both up by almost 1 percent. Agricultural foodstuffs are higher, while precious metals are mixed.

The euro, Australian dollar, and Canadian dollars are also gaining against the U.S. currency, while the Japanese yen is down across the board. It's also noteworthy that the euro appears to have found major support against the greenback, which could augur positively for energy and equity prices.

In company-specific news, Adobe Systems is climbing following a strong quarterly report last night, but FedEx is down after missing expectations. Retailer Williams-Sonoma is up a strong earnings report.

Anadarko Petroleum and Cobalt International Energy are also indicated higher after announcing a major oil discovery in the Gulf of Mexico. 
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