Stocks firm after Japan stimulus move
David Russell | firstname.lastname@example.org
The S&P 500 is indicating an increase of less than 0.1 percent, while indexes in Europe are little-changed. The big news in the overnight session came from Japan, where the central bank surprised the market with a $127 billion stimulus plan that has the potential to push real interest rates back below zero percent.
Japan's Nikkei and Hong Kong's Hang Seng indexes rallied more than 1 percent in response, while gold climbed moderately. Further impact was muted because other risk assets such as oil, the euro, and the Australian dollar mostly edged lower.
The S&P 500 hit a four-year high on Friday, capping an unexpected rally that caught many large investors underexposed to equities. While the market still lacks details on how Europe will fix its sovereign-debt problems, there is now confidence that leaders are committed to a solution. That, plus a recovering U.S. economy and short-covering in the euro, have combined to support share prices.
The question now is how much of a pullback investors will demand before putting money to work. They will also be watching U.S. housing-related data today, including housing starts at 8:30 a.m. ET and existing-home sales at 10 a.m. The EIA's petroleum report half an hour later could also impact oil prices.
There wasn't much company news this morning. Goldman Sachs is unchanged after appointing Harvey Schwartz as chief financial officer, considered a potential candidate to take over for current CEO Lloyd Blankfein. General Mills and AutoZone reported mixed quarterly results, while Cracker Barrel Old Country Store beat expectations and raised guidance.