Stocks are inching higher as Iraq fears subside and investors
prepare for housing data today and the Federal Reserve's meeting
S&P 500 futures are up more than 0.1 percent, matching gains of
a similar size in Europe. Asia was mixed overnight, with Mumbai
climbing 1.3 percent but Shanghai lower by 0.9 percent. Hong Kong
fell 0.4 percent, while Tokyo rose 0.3 percent.
The S&P 500 is less than 1 percent below its all-time high and
is holding its ground following a quick pullback last week. It's
been supported by an improving economic backdrop, low inflation,
and modest geopolitical risk. Last week's gains by Iraqi rebels
threatened the calm, but now it now appears that the United States
will use air strikes if needed to protect Baghdad.
Yesterday also brought strong data: The New York Fed's Empire Index
of manufacturing activity came in well above estimates for the
second straight month, and NAHB's homebuilder index beat forecasts.
Industrial production and capacity utilization were both stronger
than expected in May. While no single report is of major
significance, together they paint the picture of a strong economy.
Housing starts and building permits are the next big items at 8:30
a.m. ET today. Consumer prices come out at the same time but are
unlikely to affect sentiment because inflation has not been a worry
to investors. The main earnings report comes from Adobe Systems
after the closing bell today. Tomorrow afternoon, the Fed announces
While energy has been the strongest sector in the last week, our
market scanner has also shown strength in solar stocks,
semiconductors, ocean shippers, and cloud software.
The calmer situation in Iraq has oil off about 0.4 percent, while
gold and silver are down about 0.7 percent. Copper is up 0.2
percent. Currencies reflect a modestly bullish sentiment as the
safe-haven Japanese yen edges lower against the U.S. dollar and
In company-specific news, Edwards Lifesciences rose 6 percent after
announcing that the Food and Drug Administration had approved its
second generation Sapien XT TAVR device for the treatment of
high-risk and inoperable patients suffering from severe symptomatic
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