Stocks try to reverse recent losses

Equities are up slightly this morning, trying to reverse their recent bearish momentum.

S&P 500 futures are fractionally higher while Europe is down by about 0.5 percent, with the steepest declines in high-risk countries such as Spain and Italy. Asia was mostly lower overnight as well, led by a 1.4 percent drop in Tokyo.

The S&P 500 has been falling sharply since hitting an all-time high of 1897 on Friday morning as investors drain money away from former leaders on the Nasdaq such as Yahoo, Google, and Tesla Motors. It's also come at a time with few catalysts, a week before the first-quarter earnings season begins in earnest.

Emerging markets have gained favor at the same time, with investors returning to Latin American and mainland Chinese equities after avoiding them for more than two years. Shanghai, for instance, bucked the bearish trend overnight by climbing almost 2 percent. The Australian and Canadian dollars are also higher this morning, which tends to correlate with strength in commodities including grains and copper. Nonetheless, there were renewed tensions in eastern Ukraine today, which could hurt emerging-market sentiment.

The rally in global stocks has been matched by gains in energy and basic metals in the United States. Utilities, telecoms, and real-estate investment trusts have also benefited from a widening perception that interest rates will remain low longer than previously expected.

In company-specific news, Ctrip.com rose more than 5 percent after Bloomberg reported that the Chinese company is in talks to merge with a website owned by Baidu. Chemicals maker A. Schulman rose 8 percent after beating profit forecasts and raising full-year guidance. James River Coal lost more than half its value after announcing a long-awaited bankruptcy.

Yelp and FireEye, two Nasdaq stocks hammered in the recent selloff, after also trying to bounce after getting upgraded by SunTrust and Wedbush respectively. The next big earnings report comes from Alcoa after the closing bell today.

Trading is very mixed in foreign-exchange markets. It's bullish to see the U.S. dollar down across the board, especially against its Australian and Canadian counterparts. But the safe-haven Japanese yen is up across the board, a potential sign of caution.

Energy and precious metals are also advancing about 1 percent. Copper and agricultural products are down slightly.

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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