Stocks are grinding higher this morning after a sharp rebound on
S&P 500 futures are up about 0.1 percent, while most European
indexes are up by 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent. Asia was mostly
positive in the overnight session, led by gains of more than 1
percent in Tokyo and Hong Kong.
Equities have been treading water for the last two weeks after a
strong rally in mid-October. They fell on Thursday after U.S.
economic growth blew past estimates, causing worries that interest
rates would rise, but then snapped back the next day after a strong
Data continues to indicate that the global economy is
strengthening. In addition to the U.S. numbers, China reported
better-than-expected industrial production and lower-than-expected
inflation over the weekend. Japan's trade surplus was larger than
forecast in September, and a government index of forward-looking
conditions improved. No significant U.S. economic releases are
scheduled this week.
The S&P 500 has been climbing steadily all year, with no single
sector dominating. Iron, coal, and steel have been the most
noteworthy gainers in the last month. More recently, fertilizer
makers, life insurers, retail brokers, and financial exchanges have
stood out. There has also been a shift back to U.S. equities, with
the S&P 500 outperforming every other country index in the last
Major lenders such as Bank of America, Citigroup, and JP Morgan
also rallied sharply on Friday after months of barely moving.
Commodities are little-changed this morning. West Texas
Intermediate crude is down slightly as Brent crude is posting a
small gain, which could support refinery stocks. Precious metals
are mixed, copper is down fractionally and agricultural products
are mostly higher.
Foreign-exchange markets are somewhat bullish, with the euro
modestly higher against the U.S. dollar and the Japanese yen.
In company-specific news, ViroPharma is rallying 24 percent after
agreeing to be purchased by Shire. Transocean is also higher after
agreeing to pay a dividend and cut costs following pressure from
activist investor Carl Icahn. Eli Lilly is also down slightly after
getting downgraded by Goldman Sachs.
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