Options Trading News

September 4, 2013  Wed 7:14 AM CT

Equities are little-changed this morning amid ongoing worries about conflict with Syria.

S&P 500 futures are down less than 0.1 percent. European indexes are down about 0.5 percent and trying to rebound from their lows of about two hours ago. Asia was mixed in the overnight session.

The S&P 500 has spent the last week trying to hold support above 1625 and near its 100-day moving average. While this week is full of potentially important economic data, investors have been preoccupied with the risk of military action against Syria. Attention is likely to remain focused on events in Washington as the Obama administration lobbies Congress for support of an attack. At this point, however, it appears that no vote will occur on the question until next week.

The only economic event on today's calendar is the release of the Federal Reserve's Beige Book at 2 p.m. ET. Tomorrow's schedule is very active, with the European Central Bank's interest-rate decision, private-sector payrolls, initial jobless claims, and retailer same-store sales. Friday brings the pivotal monthly employment report.

Despite nervousness in the last month, materials and energy have been the strongest sectors amid increased signs of economic recovery globally. Utilities and consumer staples, usually considered safe havens, have lagged. (See our researchLAB market-analysis tool for more.)

Copper and silver are the biggest decliners in the commodity market today, falling 1.6 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively. Oil is down about 0.5 percent and most agricultural foodstuffs are lower.

Foreign-exchange markets are more sedate, with the euro and Japanese yen both up slightly. The euro is showing signs of possible bottoming while the yen appears to have broken out of a four-month consolidation pattern. If correct, both could be bullish for equities.

The Australian dollar is also gaining more than 1 percent today, rebounding from a three-year low, after the country's central bank indicated won't lower interest rates. That's also potentially bullish because the Aussie tends to follow sentiment toward the global economy.

In company-specific news, H&R Block is down 4 percent after its results missed estimates. Ciena rallied 10 percent after earnings and revenue exceeded consensus. Dollar General rose 5 percent on strong quarterly numbers, as well.
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