Markets

Stocks drift higher before payrolls

Stock futures are melting higher again today before key employment data in the United States.

The S&P 500 is indicated higher by about one-third of 1 percent, following gains of a similar magnitude in Europe. Markets were mostly higher in Asia, led by a huge rally in Japan. Oil is lower.

Momentum remains solidly bullish as strong earnings, benign economic data, and a calm political backdrop give investors few reasons to sell. Attention now focuses on monthly non-farm payrolls for February at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists are looking for a gain of 178,000 jobs and for employment to remain at 7.9 percent.

The biggest story in the overnight session was the 2.6 percent surge in Japan's Nikkei index, which has provided a steady tailwind to global markets since late last year. The move has been abetted by continued downside in the yen, which is falling across the board this morning after breaking key long-term levels earlier this week.

Other moves in the foreign-exchange markets are less clear, with the euro and Australian dollar little-changed against the U.S. currency. Oil, copper and silver are also lower, while precious metals and agricultural foodstuffs are little changed.

In company-specific news, Pandora Media is spiking higher in the pre-market on a strong quarterly report. Finisar is up after earnings and guidance were better than expected. Smithfield Foods is also higher after an investor asked the company to consider a breakup and the initiation of dividend payments.

Our r esearchLAB market-screening system is showing a broad range of strength in the market, led mostly by financials and consumer discretionary stocks in the last week. Drug developers have also been gaining, and suppliers of telecom-networking gear have appeared more recently following strong reports from Ciena and now FNSR.

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.


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

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