Stocks pull back amid Greek fears

Stocks are lower today and remain range-bound amid political tensions with Greece and poor economic data from China.

Futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 are down about half a percent. Europe is down more sharply, led by declines of more than 2 percent in the higher-risk countries of Italy and Spain. Asia was mostly lower overnight, with India's Sensex falling 1.7 percent ahead of tomorrow's election results.

Greece's prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, indicated yesterday that he's less willing to cooperate with international lenders seeking austerity measures before loaning the country more money. Observers now think it's increasingly likely that Greece will exit the Eurozone. China also reported lower than expected imports and exports.

The S&P 500 has paused following an historic rally in 2013 and 2014. Chart watchers today will likely want to see if it can hold support at its 50-day moving average or drops back down to the lower end of its recent range.

Energy has been the strongest sector in the last month as investors look for the sector to rebound from 2014's major drop. Our proprietary researchLAB market scanner has also shown strength recently in chemical companies, homebuilders, makers of office furniture, and IT outsourcing firms. Airlines have lagged.

There's been a shift in economic numbers in the last two to three months, with employment trends improving but the industrial sector cooling. One big question now facing investors is whether the hiring trends will combine with low interest rates to lift the housing market. Some early signals, such as results from Whirlpool and General Motors, indicate that a shift to bigger-ticker items may be underway already.

This week's calendar remains relatively quiet until Wednesday, when European leaders meet concerning Greece and Cisco Systems reports earnings. Monthly retail sales for the U.S. follow on Thursday.

In company-specific news, Hasbro rose 1 percent on better-than-expected quarterly profit. Diamond Offshore declined 3 percent after revenue missed forecasts. Masco, a provider of home goods like cabinets and faucets, rose 3 percent after profit beat estimates but sales lagged.

Oil and silver rose about 1 percent. Gold is fractionally higher, and copper edged lower. Foreign-exchange trading is cautious, with the euro down and the safe-haven Japanese yen higher across the board.

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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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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