Stocks are up slightly this morning, one day after recovering
from an early slide.
S&P 500 futures are up almost 0.2 percent. Europe is mixed,
with Italy and Germany bucking small losses elsewhere in the
region. Asian markets were mostly positive in the overnight session
despite weaker-than-expected Chinese industrial production and
Worries about the Asian behemoth have haunted investors in recent
months, weighing on risk appetite and commodity prices. But
economic data has strengthened in the United States and Europe at
the same time that China has struggled, keeping equities within
striking distance of new all-time highs.
Today is the busiest session of the week for economic data, with
monthly retail sales and weekly jobless claims both due at 8:30
a.m. ET. Natural-gas inventories follow at 10:30 a.m. ET and could
affect trading in energy stocks.
The S&P 500 dipped to 1854 shortly after yesterday's opening
bell--its lowest price in more than a week--before pushing back to
end with a small gain. The move was noteworthy because the index
found support above the 1850 level where it double-topped in
December and January. It also closed above its 10-day moving
average, which suggests that short-term momentum remains bullish.
Buyers have rotated from one sector to another, according to our
analysis tool. Oil refiners have emerged as the strongest industry
group in the last week, along with transportation stocks, utilities
and fast-food restaurants. Metals producers, ocean shipping
companies, homebuilders, and 3-D printers have performed the worst.
In company-specific news, Dollar General fell 2 percent after
fourth-quarter sales missed estimates. Williams Sonoma rose more
than 6 percent after beating consensus forecasts on the top and
bottom lines. majicJack VocalTec rose 19 percent on a strong
quarterly report and after disclosing plans to expand into new
markets. Plug Power, a member of the red-hot fuel-cell industry,
rose 11 percent as revenue and orders grew.
Dollar weakness is the main theme in foreign-exchange markets as
the greenback falls against the euro, Australian dollar, and
Canadian dollar. The Japanese yen is also down against most
currencies except the greenback, which reflects bullish sentiment.
Oil is little-changed this morning, while copper and precious
metals are down less than 0.2 percent. Wheat is up almost 1 point,
and corn rose is higher by about 0.5 percent.