Options Trading News

April 24, 2013  Wed 7:13 AM CT

Stocks are poised to open higher again today as the bulls remain firmly in charge.

S&P 500 futures are up more than one-tenth of a percent, while European indexes are gaining by about half a percent. Most Asian markets climbed more than a full percentage point following yesterday's U.S. rally. Japan's Nikkei continued to lead with a 2.3 percent move.

Some poor economic reports triggered selling earlier in the month, causing the S&P 500 to fall to its 50-day moving average for the first time since December. But then it bounced as positive corporate earnings lured momentum buyers who were waiting for a pullback.

The main economic report on today's calendar is the release of durable-goods orders at 8:30 a.m. ET. Apple released mostly positive earnings after the bell yesterday but is modestly lower in early trading. Boeing is up 3 percent after its profit and revenue beat expectations. Other big names this morning include Ford, General Dynamics, and Whirlpool.

Conservative sectors like health care and utilities have led the market higher in the last month, while higher-risk sectors such as small caps and transports have lagged. But yesterday's trading showed investors may be turning aggressive again: Homebuilders, which had been quiet for months, rallied.

Our researchLAB analytics tool also showed strength in light-emitting diodes and 3-D printers--fast-growing niches within technology. Perhaps even more important was the broad strength in semiconductors and related companies, which have underperformed for the last year.

Commodities are painting a more bullish picture as well this morning. Copper, often viewed as a bellwether for the global economy, is bouncing almost 2 percent after hitting a 52-week low yesterday. Oil is up half a percent and agricultural foodstuffs are mixed. Precious metals are posting small gains.

Currencies are also modestly bullish, with the euro, Australian dollar, and Canadian dollar inching higher. The Japanese yen is down across the board.

Elsewhere in company-specific news, drug maker Amgen fell almost 6 percent after its revenue missed expected expectations. Semiconductor company Broadcom is up 5 percent after earnings and sales beat consensus estimates.

I own BA shares.
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