Stocks are drifting higher this morning despite weakness in
commodities and signs of potential problems in Europe.
S&P 500 futures are up about 0.2 percent, while France's CAC-40
is the strongest index across the Atlantic with a gain of 0.5
percent. Japanese and Chinese markets were closed for holidays. The
S&P 500 finished last week at its highest price in more than
five years amid signs of improving economic growth.
Attention may shift back toward politics this week--especially
tomorrow, when European finance ministers conclude a meeting and
President Obama makes his State of the Union Address. While German
economic data has been especially strong recently, borrowing costs
have been edging higher for the Spain and Italy.
The big question now facing investors is whether there is enough
positive economic momentum to overcome those countries' debt
problems. Italy also has elections on Feb. 24 and 25.
The foreign-exchange market continues to show bullish momentum in
the two key areas of euro strength and Japanese-yen weakness. But
other currencies associated with global growth, the Australian and
Canadian dollars, are lower. Oil, copper, and most other
commodities are down as well.
In company-specific news, French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi is
indicated higher by about 4 percent after the Food and Drug
Administration refused to approve new medicines that could weaken
its hold on the market for insulin treatments.
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