- Pre-Market Indications

Monday, September 20, 2010

Indications: Stock futures rise ahead of housing data

Stock Assault 2.0 - Artificial Intelligence Stock Market Software Alert Email Print

By Simon Kennedy, MarketWatch

LONDON (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stock futures rose on Monday, as investors awaited housing data and looked ahead to tomorrow’s Federal Reserve decision on monetary policy.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/19*!dy10z (DJZ10 10,540, -10.00, -0.09%)  gained 44 points to 10,582 and S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f1:sp\z10 (SPZ10 1,124, +3.80, +0.34%)  were up 5.50 points at 1,125.20.

Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\z10 (NDZ10 1,960, +7.00, +0.36%) rose 9 points at 1,961.75.

The moves came after modest gains for Wall Street in the previous session, which contributed to the third straight weekly gain for U.S. markets.

The dollar should rally back against the euro now

With speculation over more QE by the Fed likely to fade and with concern over the euro zone's debt crisis rising again, the dollar's fall against the euro should be over.

European stocks also made a healthy start to the week Monday, with the U.K.’s FTSE 100 index /quotes/comstock/23i!i:ukx (UK:UKX 5,567, +58.89, +1.07%)   jumping 1.1% and the German DAX 30 index /quotes/comstock/30p!dax (DX:DAX 6,239, +28.90, +0.47%)  gaining 0.5%.

After U.S. stock markets open, at 10 a.m. Eastern time, the National Association of Home Builders will release its September housing-market index. This will be the first in a string of housing-market data due this week.

On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve will announce its latest interest-rate decision. Economists aren’t expecting any change in policy, but will be on the lookout for any hints about possible future quantitative-easing measures.

Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak Co., said he doesn’t expect any new policy initiatives this week, but if the Fed were to take action, the most likely measure would be the purchase of longer dated Treasuries.

In previous years, trading in the second half of September has typically been significantly weaker than in the first half, he said.

“Whether that holds in the current environment, when so many other relationships and patterns have faltered, remains to be seen, but if history is any indication, the second half of the month is likely to be far more challenging,” Greenhaus wrote in a note to clients.

Gold futures continued to rally ahead of the Fed decision, with the December contract rising $4.70 to $1,282.20 an ounce.

The dollar edged lower, falling 0.2% to 85.663 yen, while the euro strengthened 0.4% to $1.3094.

Over the weekend, oil giant BP PLC /quotes/comstock/23s!a:bp. (UK:BP. 408.20, +5.15, +1.28%)   /quotes/comstock/13*!bp/quotes/nls/bp (BP 38.03, -0.24, -0.63%)  said its Macondo oil well, which had been spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, was officially declared dead. Shares of BP gained 1.5% in London.

In deal news, L-1 Identity Solutions Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!id (ID 9.70, -0.02, -0.21%)  agreed to be bought by French aerospace and defense group Safran /quotes/comstock/24s!e:saf (FR:SAF 20.18, +0.80, +4.10%)  for $1.09 billion, or $12 a share. The deal represents a 24% premium to Friday’s closing price of $9.70 a share. Shares of L-1 rallied 20% in pre-market trading.

Home builder Lennar Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!len/quotes/nls/len (LEN 13.99, -0.10, -0.71%)  was another riser, adding 4.7% ahead of the open, after it reported a return to profitability in the fiscal third quarter, with earnings of 16 cents a share handily beating the 4-cent consensus forecast.

Among companies due to report earnings Monday, Discover Financial Services /quotes/comstock/13*!dfs/quotes/nls/dfs (DFS 15.57, -0.22, -1.39%)  is forecast to post a profit of 37 cents a share.

Simon Kennedy is the City correspondent for MarketWatch in London.

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