Stocks are falling today as the S&P 500 continues to consolidate after last week's big reversal.
Index futures are down by almost a full percentage point, compared with losses of close to 2 percent across the Atlantic. Both are currently near session lows. Asian markets were mixed in the overnight session, with Shanghai and Tokyo both modestly higher. Hong Kong and Singapore, however, fell sharply.
Stocks have been rallying since late last year, with the S&P 500 currently on pace for its seventh straight monthly advance. The index has been in record territory since late April, following earlier breakouts by transports and small caps.
But equities have been showing potential signs of fatigue since reversing last Wednesday at the same time that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke addressed Congress. The S&P 500 also closed well off its highs yesterday, despite better-than-expected data on home prices and consumer confidence. The volatility index closed near its peak, another potential sign of caution.
There are no important economic releases today. Attention tomorrow turns to weekly jobless claims and pending home sales. Traders are likely to look for support on the S&P 500 around last week's lows of 1634.
The Japanese yen is rallying across the board, including a gain of more than 1 percent against the U.S. dollar. That's bearish because a weak yen tends to correlate with higher stock prices. The euro, Australian dollar, and Canadian dollar, however, are all higher.
Commodities are mostly bearish as products associated with global growth, such as oil, copper, and grains decline. Gold and silver are bucking the trend, gaining more than half a percent.
In company-specific news, Smithfield Foods is indicated higher by 25 percent on a report it will be acquired by a Chinese company. Funeral-home operator Steward Enterprises is also up 33 percent after accepting a $1.4 billion takeover by rival Service Corp. International. Retailer Chicos FAS fell 8 percent on a weak earnings report.
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