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Stocks try to rebound from selloff

Mike Yamamoto (mike.yamamoto@optionmonster.com)

U.S. stock index futures are pointing to a positive open after yesterday's steep selloff.

Futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 are up about 0.25 percent at the time of this writing. But those gains are far from undoing yesterday's losses, which took the indexes down 1.43 percent and 1.7 percent respectively.

Most European indexes are little-changed, with the largest move coming in a 0.25 percent decline in Germany's DAX. France's CAC and the U.K. FTSE are flat.

Asian markets closed mostly lower overnight, led a 0.75 loss in Japan's Nikkei. China's Shanghai Composite ended lower by 0.64 percent after bizarre moves higher and lower that prompted regulators to open an investigation into the action.

In currency exchange, the U.S. dollar is up against most major of its peers, including the euro and the Japanese yen. Declines in the yen, traditionally viewed as a so-called safe haven, are usually bullish for equities.

Crude oil is up about 0.2 percent this morning, continuing to creep higher amid fears of more violence in Egypt. But the big story in the commodities space is precious metals, which shot higher yesterday and took many mining names along with them.

Gold and silver rose 2.2 percent and 5.2 percent respectively yesterday, breaking to their highest levels in two and three months. The key will be whether they can hold these gains and continue their momentum today, reversing their long-term downtrend. The spot gold price is off fractionally this morning, while silver is down less than 0.5 percent.

Another bright spot amid yesterday's sea or red was the homebuilding sector, which is also trying to rebound from months of declines. This may draw more attention than usual to today's data on housing starts and building permits, which will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.

The other economic report that will be in focus is the University of Michigan's consumer-sentiment reading at 9:55 a.m. ET. Traders may be watching that number closely in light of high-profile declines by retail leaders Wal-Mart and Macy's, which missed estimates in their quarterly reports this week.

Nordstrom joined that group last night when it fell short of revenue forecasts and lowered guidance. The pace of earnings releases slows today, with no major companies scheduled to issue results.

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