Futures Rise; Traders Gear Up For Busy Week


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U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a higher open for Wall Street as traders braced for a week filled with economic releases and more corporate earnings news.

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Today's Markets

As of 8:34 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed 48 points to 14697, S&P 500 futures gained 5 points to 1581 and Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 11 points to 2842.

Modest gains last week left the Dow and S&P 500 within striking distance of the record highs hit earlier this month as companies reported generally solid first-quarter earnings. Earnings season slows down slightly this week, but the pace of economic reports picks up substantially.

The Commerce Department said personal income and consume spending rose 0.2% in March from February. Economists expected income to rise 0.4% and spending to have remained unchanged. Analysts at Nomura wrote to clients that accelerated dividend payments late last year, coupled with bonuses, pushed incomes sharply higher in February. However, they said, the gains are expected to have slowed dramatically in March as those special factors wore off.

Later, at 10:00 a.m. ET, the National Association of Realtors provides its snapshot of pending home sales. The measure, which gauges signed contracts to buy previously-owned homes, is expected to have jumped 1% in March on a month-to-month basis. The housing market has shown considerable signs of improvement recently, but the recovery has been a choppy one.

Among the high-profile events this week are a two-day Federal Reserve meeting that kicks off on Tuesday and the all-important monthly jobs report on Friday. Data on the labor market has been especially closely watched after the economy added far fewer jobs than expected in March, putting into question the strength of the recovery.

In corporate news, Frank Bisignano resigned a Co-Chief Operating Officer at J.P. Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) to become chief executive at First Data. Matt Zames now becomes the sole COO at the biggest U.S. bank by assets.

In metals, gold prices posted sharp gains. The benchmark contract rallied $20.20, or 1.4%, to $1,474 a troy ounce. Oil climbed 35 cents, or 0.38%, to $93.35 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline slipped 0.62% to $2.817 a gallon.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 climbed 0.66% to 2701, the English FTSE 100 edged up 0.07% to 6431 and the German DAX advanced 0.4% to 7846.

In Asia, the Chinese Hang Seng pushed higher by 0.15% to 22581. Markets in Japan and most others in China were closed for holidays.

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