Futures pause after Monday's broad rally


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U.S. stock futures are little changed, consolidating yesterday's broad rally.

The major indexes are down fractionally after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 closed at multiyear highs on Monday. European indexes also advanced cautiously but have surrendered much of their earlier gains. Asian bourses rallied 1-2 percent overnight, following strength in U.S.

Investors now face a choice between putting more capital to work with the SPX already up 13 percent so far this year, waiting for a pullback. Economic news has fed confidence in stocks, while comments yesterday by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested borrowing costs will remain low for the foreseeable future.

The next big event comes at 10 a.m. ET today, when the Conference Board reports consumer confidence for March. A strong reading would probably be bullish and increase investor appetite for stocks. Bernanke is also scheduled to make another speech, this time at 12:45 p.m.

Foreign exchange and commodities are also hovering, but mostly bullish. Currencies associated with risk, such as the euro, Australian dollar and Canadian dollar are down slightly after climbing yesterday. Gold and silver remain fractionally positive, and most agricultural foodstuffs are strong. Copper is down by about half of a percent.

In company-specific news, homebuilder Lennar rose almost 4 percent in early trading as orders and pricing rebounded. First-quarter earnings per share also came in at $0.08 -- twice what analysts had expected.

Apollo Group, however, dropped about 6 percent after reporting that the Securities & Exchange Commission had investigated its revenue-recognition practices. The action was concluded without any enforcement against the company, and is weighing on APOL shares despite quarterly results beating expectations.

Ista Pharmaceuticals, which makes eye-care medicines, also agreed to be acquired by closely held Bausch & Lomb for $9.10 a share. ISTA is up 8 percent on the news.

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

Copyright © 2010 OptionMonster® Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

This article appears in: Investing , Options
More Headlines for: APOL , ISTA , LEN

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