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July 24, 2013  Wed 7:14 AM CT

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Stocks are climbing again today as momentum remains bullish and the news stays positive.

S&P 500 futures are up more than 0.4 percent, while Europe is rallying more than 1 percent. Asian markets were little-changed in the overnight session.

The S&P 500 fell slightly yesterday after making another record close on Monday but has been inching higher as it pushes against an earlier peak from May. If today's gains hold, it could represent a decisive break above resistance and draw new money to the market.

Strong corporate earnings and positive economic data have kept sentiment upbeat. Companies such as Apple, PepsiCo, Electronic Arts, Ford, and Boeing have beaten expectations. Europe's composite purchasing managers index also showed unexpected expansion, led by the strongest manufacturing reading in more than two years.

The news was less sanguine in Asia, where Japanese exports grew less than forecast and Chinese factory data disappointed.

Our proprietary researchLAB tool has shown a wide-ranging demand for equities, with no single sector dominating performance. In the last week, investors have returned to the global-growth theme by favoring beaten-down companies such as coal miners, copper producers, steel makers, and shipping stocks. Lesser-known financials, including non-traditional asset managers and financial guarantors, have outperformed. Riskier indexes such as mid-caps, transports, and small-caps have led to the upside as well.

Today's economic reports include new home sales at 10 a.m. ET and crude-oil inventories 30 minutes later. Tomorrow is the busiest day for data, with durable goods, initial jobless claims and Germany's Ifo survey of business confidence on the agenda.

Metals are continuing to advance today, led by a gain of almost 1 percent by copper, and less than half a percent for gold and silver. Energy prices are mixed, with Brent crude down and West Texas Intermediate roughly flat. That's potentially bearish for refiners.

A weak yen is the main theme in foreign-exchange markets today as the Japanese currency declines against all majors. The euro is also inching higher against the U.S. dollar, while the Australian dollar is down almost a full percent on the weak Chinese data.

Elsewhere in company-specific news, earth-moving giant Caterpillar fell almost 2 percent after earnings and revenue missed estimates. Management also lowered guidance. Norfolk Southern is down after missing on weak coal shipments.

Data-storage company EMC rose 5 percent after revenue beat consensus. General Dynamics, WellPoint, TE Connectivity, and Wyndham Worldwide also released strong numbers.
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