Stocks flat amid weakness overseas
David Russell | email@example.com
Futures on the S&P 500 are down fractionally, while European indexes fell less than half a percent. Japan was the leading decliner overnight in the Asian session after Tokyo reduced its estimates for exports and industrial production. That comes one day after Germany's Ifo survey showed business confidence in that country at its lowest level in more than two years. Japan and Germany are the world's third and fourth largest economies.
Sentiment could turn before the open however, especially for the U.S., because the Case-Shiller index of home prices is due at 9 a.m. ET. Housing has been one of the bright spots for U.S. growth so far this year. Consumer confidence at 10 a.m. is also expected to show improvement.
Commodities and currencies are also mixed. Oil advanced by half a percent, while natural gas and gasoline dropped following big gains in recent sessions. Gold and silver also turned negative after rallying, and are both down by more than half a percent. Copper is weak as well, along with most agricultural foodstuffs.
While declines in oil and precious metals would normally correlate with euro weakness, a strong short-term debt auction in Spain is boosting the common currency against the greenback. The Australian and Canadian dollars both posted small gains, while the Japanese yen weakened.
Activity is likely to remain muted today as traders go on vacation during the final week of summer. The S&P 500 has stayed in a range between 1400 and 1420 for most of the month, and historic volatility has been near record lows.