Equities are little-changed this morning amid ongoing worries
about conflict with Syria.
S&P 500 futures are down less than 0.1 percent. European
indexes are down about 0.5 percent and trying to rebound from their
lows of about two hours ago. Asia was mixed in the overnight
The S&P 500 has spent the last week trying to hold support
above 1625 and near its 100-day moving average. While this week is
full of potentially important economic data, investors have been
preoccupied with the risk of military action against Syria.
Attention is likely to remain focused on events in Washington as
the Obama administration lobbies Congress for support of an attack.
At this point, however, it appears that no vote will occur on the
question until next week.
The only economic event on today's calendar is the release of the
Federal Reserve's Beige Book at 2 p.m. ET. Tomorrow's schedule is
very active, with the European Central Bank's interest-rate
decision, private-sector payrolls, initial jobless claims, and
retailer same-store sales. Friday brings the pivotal monthly
Despite nervousness in the last month, materials and energy have
been the strongest sectors amid increased signs of economic
recovery globally. Utilities and consumer staples, usually
considered safe havens, have lagged. (See our
market-analysis tool for more.)
Copper and silver are the biggest decliners in the commodity market
today, falling 1.6 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively. Oil is
down about 0.5 percent and most agricultural foodstuffs are lower.
Foreign-exchange markets are more sedate, with the euro and
Japanese yen both up slightly. The euro is showing signs of
possible bottoming while the yen appears to have broken out of a
four-month consolidation pattern. If correct, both could be bullish
The Australian dollar is also gaining more than 1 percent today,
rebounding from a three-year low, after the country's central bank
indicated won't lower interest rates. That's also potentially
bullish because the Aussie tends to follow sentiment toward the
In company-specific news, H&R Block is down 4 percent after its
results missed estimates. Ciena rallied 10 percent after earnings
and revenue exceeded consensus. Dollar General rose 5 percent on
strong quarterly numbers, as well.
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