Momentum remains positive for stocks

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The S&P 500 is rising today as equities continue their momentum from a strong close yesterday.

The index is indicated to open higher by about 0.4 percent. It closed the session above its 10-day moving average yesterday and the key 1450 level, indicating that short-term momentum is turning bullish once again. Asian stocks rallied in the overnight session, while European markets are little-changed before a press conference from the European Central Bank.

Attention will also turn to U.S. company and economic data , with retailers reporting monthly same-store sales and the Labor Department releasing weekly jobless claims before the opening bell today. At 2 p.m. ET, the Federal Reserve will also report minutes from its last meeting.

Another big uncertainty was removed last night with the first presidential debate. Several polls indicate that Republican Mitt Romney did better than the incumbent Democrat, Barack Obama, which is likely to be considered a positive for market sentiment.

Commodities are also indicating a swing toward risk appetite. Oil and silver advanced by about 1 percent, while gold and copper advanced by about half that much. Most agricultural foodstuffs are also pushing higher.

Foreign-exchange trading paints a similar picture, with the euro stronger and the Japanese yen lower. The Canadian and Australian dollars, which tend to follow commodity prices, are modestly higher against the U.S. greenback.

In company-specific news, Limited Brands may climb today after the retailer reported a 5 percent increase in September same-store sales. That beat analysts' 4.7 percent estimate. The stock also saw bullish option activity yesterday.

Hotel operator Marriott International is higher by about 2 percent after reporting strong earnings yesterday afternoon, while medical-device maker NuVasive is plunging 30 percent after increased competition forced management to slash guidance.

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