Futures begin week slightly higher

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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 researchLAB 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.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Options

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