U.S. Markets closed

Global equities gain as optimism returns

David Russell (david.russell@optionmonster.com)

Stocks are climbing this morning on optimism toward the American and Chinese economies.

S&P 500 futures are up by about a quarter of 1 percent, tracking similar gains in Europe. Asian indexes surged overnight, led by gains of more than 2 percent in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

The main story overseas was in Beijing, where new Communist Party leader Xi Jinping promised that his government would continue striving for stable economic growth. That triggered the rallies in Chinese equities.

Attention now shifts to the United States, where the countdown to Friday's monthly jobs report begins. It starts with the release of ADP's private-sector at 8:15 a.m. ET. The Institute for Supply Management will also release its index of non-manufacturing economic activity at 10 a.m. ET.

The euro touched seven-week high earlier in the morning but then reversed and is now lower after a disappointing Spanish bond sale. The common currency had been appreciating as traders covered short positions, but is now back to a resistance level from earlier in the year.

Other activity in foreign-exchange markets is modestly bullish. The Australian and Canadian dollars, which tend to follow stock prices, are up slightly, while the Japanese yen, often considered a safe haven, is lower.

Commodities paint a similar picture, with oil and copper edging higher. Gold rose by more than half a percent while silver is up by more than a full percentage point. Most agricultural foodstuffs are also posting small gains.

In company-specific news, McMoRan Exploration is surging by 48 percent and Plains Exploration is up 24 percent after the Financial Times reported that Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold may buy MMR. The article said that another company may also get acquired, and the market is speculating that could be PXP because it owns almost one-third of MMR and its CEO is on MMR's board.

Mattress Firm is likely to drop after issuing weak guidance yesterday afternoon. Tibco Software is also indicated lower after warning fourth-quarter results would lag estimates.

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