Stocks are little-changed before key economic data,
consolidating after two days of gains.
European markets are up slightly, and Asian indexes were mostly
positive in the overnight session. Commodities and currencies are
Equities have climbed in the first two sessions after the long
Labor Day weekend, supported by strong economic data from China,
Europe, and the United States. While some worries have arisen from
the possibility of military action against Syria, there is still no
certainty about when--or if--strikes will occur. The delay has
allowed the longer-term bullish trend in the S&P 500 to resume.
Investors face more economic headlines today, focusing on ADP's key
private-sector payrolls report at 8:15 a.m. ET. The Labor
Department follows with initial jobless claims 15 minutes later.
Both announcements will be eyed as harbingers of tomorrow's key
non-farm payrolls report.
The Bank of England and European Central Bank both left key
interest rates unchanged earlier today.
Economically sensitive materials and energy have been the strongest
sectors in the last month, reflecting confidence that global growth
will accelerate later this year. Ocean shipping companies have also
outperformed, along with once-distressed European countries such as
Italy and Spain.
Commodity and currency markets are painting a modestly bullish
picture, with oil, copper, and precious metals slightly higher. The
Japanese yen down fractionally across the board and appears to have
broken free of a four-month consolidation period, a move that could
be positive for sentiment overall if it continues. The euro is
In company-specific news, Louisiana-Pacific is indicated up almost
9 percent after agreeing to buy Canada's Ainsworth Lumber for $1.1
billion, a deal that represents confidence that the housing
recovery will continue. NCI Building Systems declined in extended
hours yesterday after third-quarter sales missed analyst forecasts.
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