Stocks inch higher after rebound


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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 retail sales.

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 researchLAB 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.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Options

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