Futures gain after modest pullback

By David Russell,

Shutterstock photo

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 researchLAB 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 100.

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.

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

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This article appears in: Investing Options
Referenced Stocks: SPX

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