Stocks buoyant near long-term highs
David Russell | [email protected]
Index futures rose less than one-tenth of one percent, while the gains have been accelerating in Europe over the last hour. Asia fell in the overnight session, punctuated by a drop of more than 1 percent Tokyo and a 3 percent decline in Shanghai.
The catalyst for today's gains appears to be little more than the ongoing bullish momentum in equities, plus a lack of crisis in Europe. Cyprus reopened banks with limits on the size of withdrawal to prevent bank runs. Meanwhile, German retail sales and Italian business confidence were both better than economists had forecast.
Few sellers have been willing to push the S&P 500 as is consolidates in a range barely 1 percent below its previous all-time high from 2007. It's made steadily higher lows for the last week and refused to close below its 10-day moving average for more than one session at a time, which may suggest it's preparing for an attempted breakout. Other key indexes, including the Dow Jones Transportation Average, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Russell 2000 are already in record territory.
Today's event calendar included weekly jobless claims and the revision to fourth-quarter gross domestic product numbers at 8:30 a.m. The Chicago purchasing managers index follows at 9:45 a.m. and natural-gas inventories will be announced at 10:30 a.m.
Foreign-exchange and commodity trading are relatively muted, but consistent with a strong equity market. The euro is up slightly, trying to bounce after declining to a 4-1/2 month low against the U.S. dollar. The safe-haven Japanese yen is also weaker across the board. Oil and copper are modestly higher, along with agricultural products, while precious metals are down fractionally.
In company-specific news, BlackBerry is down less than 1 percent after its earnings beat expectations but revenue missed. Fertilizer company Mosaic is up marginally after reporting its numbers.