Stocks are edging lower this morning after another record close
S&P 500 futures are down two-tenths of a percent. European
indexes have been falling modestly since the open and remain
little-changed overall. Asian markets rallied overnight, led by
gains of more than 1 percent in Hong Kong and Tokyo.
The S&P 500 is up 7 percent since bouncing at its 50-day moving
average one month ago. Other benchmarks including the German DAX,
the Dow Jones Transportation Average, and the Russell 2000
small-cap index have also broken to new highs. The strength has
been varied across many areas, with limited correlation between
currencies, commodities, and equities. That indicates that real
money is being put to work rather than a limited number of big
hedge funds driving up the market with leveraged positions, which
was the case before the 2008 crash.
Some of the latest beneficiaries of the buying have been stocks
that were among the worst losers in the last 2-3 years: Greek and
Spanish banks, education companies, solar stocks, and ocean
shippers. Our researchLAB market screener also shows a trend in the
last week toward automotive companies, tire makers, and truckers.
There are few major data releases to guide traders in the next two
sessions. Attention will likely focus on Federal Reserve Chairman
Ben Bernanke's testimony before Congress on Wednesday as pundits
debate when the central bank will scale back on its easy-money
policies. Home Depot reports quarterly results tomorrow morning,
and Chinese and European manufacturing numbers come later in the
Foreign-exchange trading paints a mixed picture this morning, while
commodities are mildly bearish. Currencies associated with risk
appetite, such as the euro and Australian dollar, are up slightly
against the U.S. dollar. But the Japanese yen, which tends to move
in the opposite direction, is higher across the board.
Oil is down by more than half a percent, copper is falling almost
one-third of a percent, and agricultural foodstuffs are modestly
lower. The bloodletting continues in precious metals as silver
declines almost 3 percent and gold loses almost 1 percent.
In company-specific news, Internet giant Yahoo may be active on a
report it will buy the popular blogging site Tumblr for $1.1
billion. Chesapeake Energy also announced that it would hire Robert
Douglas Lawler, an executive at Anadarko Petroleum, as its new CEO.
He replaces the controversial Aubrey McClendon, who was forced out