Stocks are inching higher today after a modest pullback in the
last two sessions.
S&P 500 futures are up almost 0.2 percent, while the Nasdaq 100
is slightly stronger. European markets fell modestly, retreating
from record highs, but have been climbing in the last hour. Asia
was mixed in the overnight session.
The S&P 500 is barely 1 percent below its all-time peak on
Wednesday. It had climbed steadily for three weeks after bouncing
at its 100-day moving average and has now pulled back to its 10-day
moving average. That could make some chart watchers expect the
short-term uptrend to continue.
A mix of economic data confronts investors today. On one hand,
China continues to show signs of improvement, with rising
manufacturing numbers and real-estate prices. But in Europe an
unexpected drop in inflation triggered speculation that interest
rates need to stay low, driving the euro lower.
Attention now turns to the United States, where the Institute for
Supply Management's key monthly manufacturing index will be
released at 10 a.m. ET. More important manufacturing numbers will
be released Monday morning in Europe and Monday evening in China.
Energy giant Chevron reports earnings this morning. American
International Group is down almost 5 percent after the insurer's
results in its consumer businesses underwhelmed investors
yesterday. First Solar is rallying 8 percent, drawing attention
back to one of 2013's best-performing industries, after beating
estimates and issuing strong guidance.
Price action has been broadly bullish for months, with no single
sector or group dominating performance. Our
market scanner shows strength shifting to industrials and tech
recently while large-cap financials have lagged. The Russell 2000
small-cap index also appears to be ceding leadership to the Nasdaq
Foreign-exchange trading is somewhat bearish today, with the euro
getting hammered on the inflation news and the Japanese yen
climbing across the board. But the Australian and Canadian dollars,
which track natural resources, are higher. Copper, often viewed as
a bellwether for the global economy and Chinese growth, is also
climbing by more than half a percent. Energy, precious metals, and
agricultural products are all posting small losses.