Stocks are up slightly today as they continue trying to halt a
S&P 500 futures rose almost two tenths of a percent of a
percent, bucking of decline of more than half a percent in
Europe. Asian markets were mixed in the overnight session.
The S&P 500 is set to record a negative month for only the
second time since launching on a rally in November. Simple profit
taking drove shares lower earlier in the month, and this week
brought the added risk of potential conflict with Syria.
But the index has spent the last three sessions attempting to
hold a support level from early July. During that time the Syrian
threat has eased, especially after the U.K. Parliament voted
against war earlier today.
Every pullback since late 2012 has proven to be a buying
opportunity, and traders must now decide whether to put money to
work with the S&P 500 lingering near its 100-day moving
average. They also face the prospect of a slow session today
before the three-day Labor Day weekend, followed by a slew of
potentially positive economic news after the holiday. It begins
with Chinese manufacturing data Sunday night. The Institute of
Supply Management's factory index follows Tuesday. Thursday and
Friday bring European manufacturing numbers and two key
employment releases in the United States. Most of those reports
beat expectations last month.
Gold and silver are the big movers in the commodity markets,
falling 1 percent and 2 percent respectively, as traders take
profits following big rebounds in the last two months. Copper and
oil are posting smaller losses. Most agricultural foodstuffs are
lower as well.
Currencies are showing little volatility, but there is a slight
bias toward dollar weakness. The euro is up and the yen is
posting fractional gains.
In company-specific news, Salesforce.com is indicated higher
after reporting strong earnings and raising guidance. Omnivision
Technologies, however, is down on a weak forecast for the current
quarter. Big Lots is also higher after profit beat expectations.
General Electric could also be active after the Wall Street
Journal reported it may spin off its store-branded credit-card