Stocks are little-changed today, pausing near last month's
S&P 500 futures have shed earlier gains and are now essentially
flat. Europe has also weakened in the last hour, and Asia posted
modest losses in the overnight session.
The S&P 500 has been advancing steadily all year. It began the
month with a pullback to its 30-day moving average, only to rally
on a strong employment report last Friday. It rose another 0.18
percent yesterday, led by materials and technology stocks.
Strength has been scattered across almost all sectors, although
recent sessions have seen capital flowing into economically
sensitive areas such as coal, steel, casinos and emerging markets.
market scanner has also detected buying in silver miners as traders
hope for a bounce in the beaten-down precious-metals
space--something that may be unfolding today.
China reported better-than-expected retail sales but industrial
production and fixed-asset investment lagged forecasts. There are
no other important economic events until Thursday, which brings
European industrial production, initial jobless claims and United
States retail sales. H&R Block also reports earnings this
afternoon. Tomorrow morning brings Costco and coal-mining equipment
stock Joy Global.
Bond yields are easing today, which could give a boost to
housing-related names. The group was already strong yesterday, with
bullish options activity in several companies, as investors for
months of weakness to end. (See
Energy and precious metals are rallying today. West Texas
Intermediate crude oil rose about 1.25 percent, outpacing European
Brent crude's 0.8 percent gain. That price action tends to be
bullish for producers and potentially bearish for refiners. Natural
gas is up another 1 percent.
Silver and gold are gaining 2 percent and 1 percent, respectively,
attempting to rebound after establishing higher lows versus their
late-June troughs. Copper rose less than half a percent and
agricultural products are mixed.
Currencies are little changed, with the euro and Australian dollar
inching higher while the Japanese yen strengthens.
In company-specific news, homebuilder Toll Brothers climbing 4
percent after earnings and revenue to beat expectations thanks to
higher prices. Drug developer Geron is also up 15 percent after
presenting data on its Imetelstat drug at the American Society of
Hematology's 2013 Annual Meeting.
Ocean shipping companies may be under pressure after the Wall
Street Journal reported that Eagle Bulk Shipping and Genco Shipping
& Trading may restructure their hefty debt loads. Pep Boys is
also down more than 10 percent on a weak quarterly report.
I own EGLE shares.
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