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Wall Street Journal features Stephen Pope & Spotlight Ideas

Tuesday May 28th 2013


U.S. Stock Futures Shoot up Ahead of Confidence Data

U.S. stock market futures shot higher on Tuesday, as investors return from a long holiday weekend to gains in Asia and a rally in Europe. Upcoming data expected to show consumer confidence at its best level since last autumn was also driving positive sentiment.


Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 108 points, or 0.7%, to 15415, while those for the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 12.4 points or 0.8%, to 1663. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 index rose 30 points, or 1%, to 3022.25.


"Asia has enjoyed a strong day with the Nikkei, Topix, Hang Seng etc. all scoring solid gains. Also today, the U.S. is going to feed on the expected boost in consumer confidence," said Stephen Pope, managing partner at Spotlight Ideas, in emailed remarks.


The consumer confidence index is expected to rise to 72.3 in May from a prior reading of 68.1. The data is due for release at 10 a.m. EDT. Ahead of that, at 9 a.m. EDT, the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index for March is due for release.


But markets will also be returning from a tough session on Friday.


Wall Street stocks fell for the first week in five last week, with the Dow industrials finishing 8.6 points higher on Friday, a mere 0.1%, to 15,303.10, recovering from sharper losses earlier in that session.


Fears that the Federal Reserve beginning to pare back its bond-buying stimulus program rattled global markets last week, but Pope said there is no reason to believe buyers won't return.


"We cannot rule out aggressive buying after last week's dip because the general tenor of the U.S. economy is steady and the start to adjust the books before May month-end begins," Mr. Pope added in emailed remarks.


A positive backdrop for Wall Street was gains seen across Europe and Asia. The Stoxx Europe 600 index jumped 1.2% to 308.20, while the FTSE 100 index, also returning from a long weekend, shot up 1.6%.


Europe was keying off a strong gains in Tokyo, where the yen pulled back over concerns about rising Japanese government bond yields. That allowed Japanese stocks to overcome a volatile session and close higher, with the Nikkei 225 index gaining 1.2%. Other Asian markets also closed higher, though more moderately.


Gold prices fell as the dollar strengthened, and oil rose.


Among the companies with shares expected to actively trade in Tuesday's session are Tiffany & Co. (TIF) and Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ).


Tiffany and Canadian Solar are scheduled to report their latest quarterly results Tuesday morning.


Standard & Poor's lowered its outlook on Southern Co. (SO), noting risks associated with a problematic power plant construction project.

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