Options Trading News

February 1, 2013  Fri 7:17 AM CT

Stock futures are advancing this morning before the key non-farm payrolls report at 8:30 a.m. ET.

The S&P 500 has been climbing in the last hour and is indicated higher by about one-third of 1 percent, while the Nasdaq 100 and Russell 2000 small cap indexes are showing slightly larger gains. Most overseas markets gained as well: France's CAC 40 is up almost 1 percent, while Japan's Nikkei climbed half a percent overnight and Shanghai rallied 1.4 percent overnight.

The S&P 500 has been sitting at 1500 for the last week after a scorching rally that began on Dec. 31. Few sellers have come forward to knock it down from that level, and buyers have kept pullbacks extremely shallow. Investors have mostly looked past weak economic news, such as a poor gross domestic product report on Wednesday and a disappointing Chinese manufacturing report this morning.

Foreign-exchange and commodity trading are mixed but mostly bullish. The euro is higher and the Japanese yen is lower across the board, a relationship that usually corresponds with rising share prices. But oil and copper are down slightly, as are the Australian and Canadian dollars. Agricultural foodstuffs and precious metals are up slightly.

It's interesting to note that stocks, currencies, and commodities are not all moving in the same direction every day, as they did in the 2005-2007 period. This suggests that large indexed hedge funds are not driving the current rally but that real money is being put to work in equities instead.

In company-specific news, software maker Netsuite is up about 7 percent after raising its full-year guidance, while energy giant Exxon Mobil is also fractionally higher after earnings and revenue beat consensus estimates.
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