Stocks are climbing again today but may face headwinds after two weeks of gains.
S&P 500 futures rose less than half a percent and are attempting to climb from their session lows reached in the last hour. Europe is up half a percent to a full percentage point but remains near the lows of the day.
Asian markets were strong overnight, led by a 2.6 percent gain in Tokyo, despite signs of continued economic weakness in China. Copper and energy, bellwethers of global demand, are lower.
The S&P 500 has appreciated more than 3 percent since touching key support at its 100-day moving average in late June. It's now back in the same area where it peaked in the middle of last month, which could lead some chart watchers to expect a pause. There are also few scheduled events that could serve as catalysts until same-store sales and initial jobless claims on Thursday morning.
Last night China reported lower-than-expected inflation because of weak demand on the mainland, and factory prices continued to fall. Aluminum producer Alcoa, on the other hand, reported better-than-expected profit thanks to strong demand from auto makers and aerospace customers in the United States. Its announcement marked the start of earnings season, and corporate announcements will increase steadily in the next three weeks.
Price action in the market has reflected a belief that economic conditions and incomes will continue to improve in the U.S., according to our researchLAB market scanner: Consumer discretionary stocks have led the gains in the last two weeks--especially those related to travel, such as vehicle makers, car rental and travel agencies.
Commodities are mixed, with copper down by 1.5 percent and energy prices modestly lower. But precious metals and agricultural products are higher. Foreign-exchange markets are similarly indecisive, with the euro lower while the Australian dollar and Canadian dollars are climbing despite weakness in copper and energy.
In company-specific news, Intuitive Surgical is indicated lower by 15 percent after forecasting weak sales of its DaVinci devices. Amarin is also lower after announcing it plans to sell shares. WD-40, on the other hand, is up after earning and revenue breezed past forecasts.
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