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Stocks higher before half-session

By: optionMONSTER
Posted: 11/29/2013 8:08:00 AM
Referenced Stocks: SPX

Stocks are following Europe higher this morning, one day after closing for the Thanksgiving holiday.

S&P 500 futures are up more than 0.1 percent, while the Nasdaq 100 and Russell 2000 are indicated up by about 0.4 percent. Trading is also positive across the Atlantic, led by higher-risk countries like Italy and Spain. Asia was little-changed overnight. U.S. markets close early today, at 1 p.m. ET.

The S&P 500 has been steadily climbing and closed at another record high on Wednesday. Strength has been spread across several groups, with drug developers and consumer-discretionary stocks standing out recently on our proprietary researchLAB analysis tool. Ocean shippers are also showing signs of life after major pullbacks, while metals and energy have lagged.

Today's calendar is empty, though it's typically the busiest shopping day of the year. Key global manufacturing data streams in from China, Europe, and the United States on Monday. Attention then turns to big employment numbers later next week.

Commodities are trying to bounce today, led by gains of more than 1 percent for copper and silver. Oil is also inching higher and gold is up almost 1 percent. Agricultural products are little-changed.

Foreign-exchange trading is very uneventful, with the euro inching higher and the Japanese yen down fractionally.

In other news today, Standard & Poor's raised its outlook on Spain's credit rating to stable from negative, citing better financial metrics. Japanese inflation rose at the quickest pace since 2008, a potential sign that deflation is ebbing, while motor-vehicle production increased 10 percent. India and Taiwan also reported economic-grown numbers that were better than expected. S&P additionally upgraded Cyprus to B- from CCC+, saying that its risk of a debt crisis has lessened.