Stocks pause following run higher

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Stocks are pausing this morning after six consecutive days of gains.

S&P 500 futures are off less than 0.2 percent, while most European markets are mixed to higher. Asia closed mostly higher as well, lifted by yesterday's strong U.S. rally. High-beta countries such as Italy, Spain and Thailand outperformed in overseas trading, reflecting risk appetite.

The S&P 500 has gained 3 percent since finding support at its 100-day moving average in late August. It's been trending steadily higher for the last year, supported by strong economic data and large amounts of cash on the sidelines. A return to global growth has been the dominant theme over the last month as better numbers from China and Europe draw investors into materials and transportation stocks. (See our researchLAB market scanner for more.)

Headlines remain positive today, with President Barack Obama indicating that there won't be a war with Syria. Australian consumer confidence also rose to its highest level in more than 2-1/2 years and Malaysian industrial production surpassed expectations.

Nonetheless, the S&P 500 has now returned to the same 1682-1687 range where it peaked in May and also found support in early August. That could make some chart watchers expect a pause.

There are no important economic numbers scheduled for release today. Verizon Communications' giant corporate-bond offering could attract attention.

Commodities reflect optimism about the global economy again, with Brent crude oil and copper climbing by about half a percent. Precious metals are little changed and agricultural foodstuffs are posting small gains.

Foreign-exchange trading is less bullish as the Japanese yen recovers from recent declines and the euro edges lower.

In company-specific news, International Paper could be active after raising its dividend and announcing a $1.5 billion share buyback. Restoration Hardware is also drifting lower despite issuing a strong quarterly report. Apple is also down 4 percent after unveiling its new iPhones yesterday but failing to announce a much-anticipated deal with China Mobile.

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

Copyright © 2010 OptionMonster® Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

This article appears in: Investing , Options

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