Stocks are up this morning after holding a key support level yesterday.
S&P 500 futures are climbing by two-thirds of a percent and have been gaining all morning, while European markets are posting more modest gains. Asian markets fell overnight, led by a drop of more than 1 percent in China.
The S&P 500 declined more than 1 percent yesterday but remained above the key 1622 level that provided a floor May 8-10 and earlier this month. If today's gains hold, it could be important because it would suggest that the index is not yet ready to make a lower high after its peak last month.
Some of yesterday's declines were caused by a midday surge in the Japanese yen, which tends to be negative for equities. But the currency failed to make new highs and is weaker across the board today. In other overseas news, the Eurozone reported that industrial production rose 0.4 percent in April versus the 0.2 percent decline forecast by economists.
Elsewhere in foreign-exchange markets, the euro is down slightly against the U.S. dollar. But the Australian dollar is surging more than 1 percent, and the Canadian currency is posting a smaller gain.
Commodities are modestly bullish as well, with oil and copper trying to climb. Silver is also higher and agricultural products are mixed.
While the tone has mostly been conservative overall, some industry groups reflect optimism. optionMONSTER's proprietary researchLAB market scanner shows strength in the last week among optical-communications companies such as Ciena and Infinera, which rely on the telecom investment cycle. Jewelry stores and motor homes, which also sell big-ticket items, have outperformed as well.
Names tied to the global economy and emerging markets--coal, iron ore, and basic metals--have remained weak as growth slows in China, India, and Brazil. Chinese Internet stocks, however, have been rallying.
In company-specific news, chip maker Rambus is up 11 percent after South Korean's Hynix agreed to pay $240 million to settle patent dispute that began in 2000. Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance is climbing 9 percent after first-quarter earnings and revenue beat expectations.
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