Options Trading News

January 15, 2014  Wed 7:12 AM CT

Stocks are climbing again today as bullish momentum returns to the market.

S&P 500 futures are up almost 0.2 percent, while the Nasdaq is continuing to show leadership with a pre-market gain of more than 0.3 percent. Europe is rallying as well, led by Germany's 1.2 percent advance, after the World Bank raised its 2014 growth forecasts. Asia was mostly higher overnight as Tokyo surged 2.5 percent and Shanghai continued to lag.

The S&P 500 rebounded sharply yesterday from a pullback on Monday as investors continue to build positions before the release of corporate earnings. Perhaps even more important is the recent strength in the Nasdaq as sentiment toward technology and biotechnology improves.

optionMONSTER's proprietary researchLAB and Heat Seeker scanners, for instance, have shown capital flowing into network security stocks such as F5 Networks and Fortinet in the last week. Meanwhile, an improving economy and increased enterprise spending has lifted hardware makers such as Juniper Networks and Seagate Technology, along with semiconductor names including Intel. Biotech has been in focus because of investor conferences recently.

Airlines, firearms, education companies, IT outsourcing firms, and fertilizer makers have also been strong recently, according to researchLAB.

Attention now turns to financials, with Bank of America climbing almost 3 percent in early trading after fourth-quarter profit and revenue beat expectations. Similar to JP Morgan yesterday, the company has benefited from fewer bad loans. Other big banks follow tomorrow, including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, BB&T, American Express, Capital One, PNC Financial, and Huntington Bancshares.

The World Bank now expects the global economy to expand 3.2 percent this year, up from its earlier 3 percent estimate. In 2015, growth is forecast to accelerate to 3.4 percent.

Other news on the agenda includes the New York Federal Reserve's regional Empire index and producer prices at 8:30 a.m. ET. Crude-oil inventories are due at 10:30 a.m. and the national Fed's Beige Book survey of economic conditions at 2 p.m. ET.

Apple is also up 1.5 percent in early trading after the company received 1 million pre-orders for iPhones in China. General Motors fell 1 percent on comments that margins will fail to improve this year. Small-cap tech stock Datalink is also surging 30 percent on strong preliminary results. Aeropostale is up 7 percent on a Bloomberg report that the company is looking for a buyer.

Three-dimensional printing stocks, which led technology last year, are set for another poor session after ExOne pre-announced weak 2013 results. Yesterday the group tanked on weak guidance from Stratasys.

There is no clear direction in commodities or foreign exchange. Energy is mixed, while metals and agricultural products are down. The euro is also weaker while the Japanese yen is up against most other currencies.
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