Stocks and commodities are advancing today on hopes that the
United States will avert fiscal crisis.
Futures on the S&P 500 rose by more than half a percent, while
European indexes are higher by more than a full percentage point.
Commodities are also up across the board, and Asian markets rallied
in the overnight session.
The main focus is on public finances in the United States, which
faces the potential double-whammy of steeper taxes and less
government spending unless leaders reach an agreement. Investors
received a boost of confidence yesterday when Nancy Pelosi, the
ranking Democrat in the House, said a deal was possible by
Her statement comes after worries about the so-called "fiscal
cliff" had driven the S&P 500 to its lowest price in 3-1/2
months. The index closed near its highs on Friday, suggesting that
buyers are returning the market. Treasury yields are back near
support levels, which could make investors want to sell bonds and
Commodities also reflect a willingness to take risk. Oil and copper
are higher by about 1 percent, while gold and silver rose by more
than half a percent. Most agricultural foodstuffs are also
Foreign-exchange markets are slightly bullish as well, with the
euro, Australian dollar and Canadian dollar all higher against the
greenback. The Japanese yen is gaining after a big selloff last
In company-specific news, home-improvement retailer Lowe's is
indicated to open higher by about 4 percent after third-quarter
earnings and revenue beat expectations. Other S&P 500 companies
issuing results today include Tyson Foods and Agilent Technologies.
This week is shortened because of Thanksgiving on Thursday. The
calendar will focus on real estate and consumers, which have been
strong of late. Existing home sales and the housing market index
are both scheduled for 10 a.m. ET today. Housing starts follow
tomorrow and weekly jobless claims will move forward by one session
to Wednesday morning.