Options Trading News

September 25, 2013  Wed 7:11 AM CT

Stocks are down again today, but certain indicators remain bullish.

S&P 500 futures are signaling a fractional decline at the open, while most European indexes are falling less than half a percent. Japan and Shanghai posted similar losses in the overnight session.

There is, however, little sign that panic is setting in because more volatile, "high beta" markets such as Italy, Spain, and Thailand have held up much better than their larger counterparts. Oil, precious metals, and copper are higher as well.

The S&P 500 has declined four consecutive sessions, trying to find support after surging to record territory last week. Attention is now focused on the potential risk of a government shutdown as the fiscal year draws to a close on Sept. 30. But the main proponent of a shutdown, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), appears increasingly isolated.

In addition to political wrangling, the economic calendar is growing more active, with durable-goods orders today, global manufacturing data early next week, and the ever-important U.S. job report at the end of next week. After that, attention will focus on corporate earnings.

Bond yields are falling again today, continuing a trend that's taken hold since the Federal Reserve stunned investors last week by not tapering bond purchases. More declines could provide a boost to the key housing sector.

Brent crude oil rose a full 1 percent and West Texas Intermediate is up 0.6 percent. If that trend continues it could be potentially bullish for refiners, which tend to benefit from Brent climbing against WTI. Gold, copper and silver each rose about half a percent, and most agricultural foodstuffs are higher.

Trading is quiet in the foreign-exchange markets, with the euro and yen up slightly.

In company-specific news, automobile auctioneer Copart fell almost 9 percent after earnings missed expectations and the company opted not to convert into a real-estate investment trust. Ascena Retail is up 15 percent after reporting strong quarterly results. Clovis Oncology dropped 13 percent after Bloomberg reported it failed to attract a buyer and Noble rose 3 percent on news it would split into two companies.
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