Markets

Stocks push higher before retail sales

Stocks are pushing back toward Monday's highs as investors await retail-sales data and geopolitical tensions ease.

S&P 500 futures rose almost half a percent, while European markets gained as much as 1 percent. Asia also climbed overnight, with Thailand and Korea both advancing more than 1 percent.

Investors are looking past weak economic numbers, like slowing industrial output in China and Europe. Instead they have focused on strong earnings and comments by Poland's foreign minister late yesterday that downplayed the risk of Russia invading Ukraine. Data also showed higher oil production by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) offsetting declines from hotspots like Iraq.

Attention now focuses on the American retail sector at a time when employment data at its best levels in years. The Commerce Department announces July retail sales at 8:30 a.m. ET and Macy's will report earnings before the opening bell. Wal-Mart, Kohl's, Nordstrom and J.C. Penney follow tomorrow. Other important companies like Home Depot appear next week.

The S&P 500 is in the middle of its range since breaking out to new highs in late May and is currently sitting at the same level where it peaked earlier in the week. Price action has been mixed across sectors, with no single group dominating performance. Nonetheless, researchLAB shows precious metals, retailers, transports and Chinese stocks outperforming in the last week.

In company-specific news, Cree fell 9 percent after reporting weak revenue and guidance. JDS Uniphase also edged lower on disappointing top-line results.

Technology is another big theme in the near term, with earnings due this afternoon from Cisco Systems, NetApp and 3-D printing stocks ExOne and Voxeljet. Applied Materials, Autodesk and Sina follow after the closing bell tomorrow.

Oil is down slightly and copper fell almost 1 percent. Foreign-exchange trading is mixed, with the Australian and United States dollars both higher while the British pound dropped sharply after central bankers in London said they're in no hurry to raise interest rates.

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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