Stocks are down slightly this morning as investors await a flood
of bank earnings later this week.
S&P 500 futures are down a little more than 0.1 percent but are
near their highs of the session, while most European indexes are
posting small gains. Asia was mostly higher overnight, led by gains
of more than 2 percent in Thailand and Indonesia. Tokyo was closed.
While today's event calendar is empty, tomorrow brings quarterly
results from JP Morgan and Wells Fargo, followed by Bank of America
on Wednesday and Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, PNC Financial, Capital
One American Express, and BB&T on Thursday. (See our related
The S&P 500 has been inching higher in the last week,
attempting to hold support at its 10-day moving average. Leadership
has recently shifted toward health care as drug makers advance.
There could be further upside today as Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
rallies 30 percent on news it will receive a $700 million
investment from France's Sanofi. Airlines, tire makers, firearms,
and European banks have also been strong, according to our
Retail, on the other hand, has struggled as companies wind down a
poor holiday-shopping season. Lululemon Athletica and Express are
both down this morning after pre-announcing weak fourth-quarters.
The industry could be active again tomorrow with the Commerce
Department set to report monthly retail sales.
Homebuilders and utilities are other areas to watch as borrowing
costs decline. Rates dropped from long-term peaks on Friday after
monthly payrolls grew much less than expected--a potential sign of
economic weakness--and are mixed this morning.
Natural gas is the big mover in the commodity market, climbing
almost 3 percent in early trading. Crude oil, silver and copper are
down more than half a percent and most agricultural products are
In foreign-exchange markets, the Japanese yen is higher across the
board and the euro is up slightly against the greenback. The
Australian dollar is also inching higher, attempting to rebound
from long-term lows.
In other company-specific news, alcoholic beverage maker Beam
agreed to be purchased by Japan's Suntory for $13.6 billion in
cash. Fortinet, the target of
heavy call buying
in recent sessions, also climbed on a Morgan Stanley upgrade.
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