Stocks are higher today as tensions subside in Ukraine and bullish momentum continues to build.
S&P 500 futures are up half a percent, while most European indexes are higher by a full percentage point. Asia was mixed, with Tokyo little-changed and Shanghai up 0.6 percent. India's Sensex climbed 1 percent to new all-time highs as investors continued their return to the world's top-performing stock market this year.
The S&P 500 fell in late July but found support at its 100-day moving average and has been working higher since. Investors were initially worried by tensions in Ukraine and the Middle East, but neither situation has escalated. Another concern has been Europe's slowing output, but expectations are rising that central bankers will use policy to stimulate growth.
That will likely be a major theme later this week when Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi speak at Jackson Hole, Wyo., during market hours Friday. This week's agenda brings several other potential catalysts: A heavy flow of retailer earnings, housing starts and building permits tomorrow, minutes from the last Fed meeting Wednesday and overseas manufacturing data in the overnight session leading into Thursday.
Strength in the Nasdaq 100 is perhaps an even more important story. It's up 3 percent in the last month, while the S&P 500 is flat. It's also delivered almost triple the gain of the broader market in the last three months, according to our researchLAB market scanner. Buyers have targeted China, Hong Kong and Korea, along with metals, coal miners, and solar-energy stocks as well.
At least two other groups could also merit attention: Energy, which had struggled as Europe slowed, and biotechnology, which has been showing signs of life following a major pullback in March and April. Industrials, utilities and financials have been among the weakest sectors.
In company-specific news, Family Dollar Stores is up almost 5 percent after receiving a $9.7 billion takeover offer from Dollar General. DG rose 8 percent and Dollar Tree, which was trying to buy FDO, fell slightly on the news. JinkoSolar is up 1 percent after announcing quarterly results.
There are two themes in currency and commodity markets: The euro is lower, dragging oil down by 1 percent. But the safe-haven Japanese yen is also lower, matching the broader bullish sentiment.
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