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Stocks inch higher ahead of data

Stocks are inching higher before tomorrow's flood of data and as overseas markets remain bullish.

S&P 500 futures are up more than 0.1 percent, and the Nasdaq is higher by almost 0.2 percent. Europe shows gains of about 0.5 percent, similar to those in Asian markets including Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul overnight.

The S&P 500 has been consolidating within striking distance of 2,000 all month while transports and the Nasdaq have continued making new highs. Sentiment has been supported by strong employment and manufacturing data, which has offset weak top-line economic growth numbers.

Investors will get another look at gross domestic product tomorrow when the Commerce Department releases its preliminary estimate for the second quarter. It's one of three major reports in the session, coming amid ADP's private-sector payrolls report and the Federal Reserve's monetary announcement in the afternoon. Friday also brings two big numbers: non-farm payrolls and the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index.

Today's main events are the Case-Shiller index of home prices at 9 a.m. ET and consumer confidence one hour later.

The last month has seen a clear shift toward international assets as investors react to improving economic numbers in China. Countries including Thailand, Brazil, and Mexico have benefited from the trend as well. optionMONSTER's researchLAB market scanner also shows strength recently in basic metals, hospital operators, and video-game makers.

In company-specific news, United Parcel Service fell 3 percent after reporting weaker-than-expected profit. Revenue, however, beat forecasts. Merck and Pfizer also posted small gains after beating consensus forecasts. Aetna initially rose on strong results but is now unchanged.

This afternoon's noteworthy companies include American Express, Amgen, Express Scripts, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and Anadarko Petroleum.

Commodities are mixed, with oil and copper fractionally lower while gold and silver rose about 0.5 percent. Currencies are little-changed, with the Japanese yen slightly lower and the U.S. dollar higher against the euro.

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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