Stocks are up fractionally higher this morning amid strong
manufacturing data from China and mixed news from Europe. Several
other key reports are scheduled for this week.
S&P 500 futures have been inching up for the last hour but are
only barely in positive territory. Markets across the Atlantic are
down by more than half a percent. Asia was mostly negative in the
overnight session, with Shanghai and Korea negative while Hong Kong
and India gained. Japan's Nikkei was fractionally lower.
China's manufacturing sector continued to grow at its fastest pace
in more than a year, according to a survey by Markit/HSBC.
Germany's numbers were also revised up and the United Kingdom
showed its most dramatic improvement in almost 20 years. Italy was
also strong although France and Spain contracted.
Attention now focuses on the Institute for Supply Management's
monthly manufacturing index at 10 a.m. ET. The calendar remains
active this week, turning toward private-sector payrolls and
new-home sales on Wednesday, the European Central Bank's monetary
announcement on Thursday, and monthly non-farm payrolls on Friday.
There are few earnings reports scheduled, though select retailers
will announce monthly sales on Thursday morning.
The S&P 500 has been advancing steadily all year, propelled by
an improving global economy and ample cash on the sidelines.
Strength has been scattered across many groups and sectors,
although drug developers, consumer-discretionary stocks, banks, and
health insurers have recently stood out on our
market scanner. Truckers and ocean-shipping companies have led the
transport sector. There's also been a shift back to small caps,
which led the market into record territory earlier this year.
Gold and silver are the big movers in commodity markets, falling 1
percent and 2 percent respectively. Both are near long-term support
and at risk of crumbling to new lows. Oil is little-changed, copper
declined fractionally, and agricultural products are mixed.
The Japanese yen continues to weaken, which has the potential to
support equity prices. The euro is also weak today while the
Australian dollar is climbing.
In company-specific news, hotelier Hilton Worldwide plans (HLT) to
go public for $18 to $21 a share. The IPO could also affect trading
in owner Blackstone.
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