Stocks are edging higher today as Syrian war fears recede and
economic data remains strong.
S&P 500 futures are up less than 0.2 percent, while European
indexes are down about 0.5 percent. Asia, however, rallied sharply
in the overnight session: Shanghai surged more than 3 percent after
Chinese exports rose more than expected in August and inflation
continued to ease. Japan's Nikkei gained 2.5 percent after Tokyo
won the right to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, spurring hopes for
increased investment and employment. Its second-quarter economic
growth number was also revised higher.
Attention today will likely focus on President Obama's multiple
appearances on the main news outlets as he presses his case for
limited military strikes against Syria. The weekend saw opposition
stiffening against war among both conservative Republicans and
liberal Democrats. Markets rallied on Friday after Obama's
inconclusive comments on the matter caused traders to doubt that
action will be taken.
The S&P 500 has been trying to bounce after falling in August
for only the second time in the last 10 months. While initially
rattled by higher interest rates, investors are increasingly
focusing on improvements in the global economy, highlighted by
strong data in Europe, Asia, and the United States.
The global theme has been especially strong in the last three weeks
as emerging-market, material, and energy stocks outperform. Our
analystsis tool, for instance, shows ocean shippers, coal miners,
and Chinese and Russian companies leading gains.
Russia may also be in focus this week as the Moscow launches a
large sovereign-debt sale. Strong demand could boost demand for the
country's stock market.
Chinese industrial production and retail sales are the next big
data point, scheduled for the overnight session tomorrow morning.
European industrial production and U.S. retail sales follow on
Thursday and Friday, respectively. Attention will also focus on the
Federal Reserve's next meeting Sept. 17 and 18.
Commodities are mostly bearish as oil and silver fall about 1
percent. Most agricultural products are lower, though copper is
bucking the trend with a gain of almost 1 percent--another sign of
confidence in the global economy.
Foreign-exchange trading is more supportive of the bulls, with the
safe-haven Japanese yen down across the board. The euro, Australian
dollar, and Canadian dollar, which tend to follow sentiment toward
the global economy, are higher.
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