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Stock Market Preview for 03/14/2011

March 14, 2011

U.S. stock index futures are down this morning but off their lows so far. Trading in the futures has been erratic, and prices may fluctuate considerably as the pre-market session wears on. stock trading

Japan’s markets suffered their worst losses since December 2008, with the Topix and Nikkei falling more than 7 percent and 6 percent respectively. Insurers and Re-insurers with exposure to Japan were down as quake-related losses and tsunami effects became clearer.

Shares of Tokyo Electric lost nearly 25 percent of their value at one point. An area that will also likely see weakness today will be Japanese automakers Toyota and Honda.

Other markets in Asia traded to the upside. India and China both finished positively as investors allocated away from Japan. Lower crude oil prices helped as well. In Europe, shares had initially traded higher after a weekend European Union summit, which saw a large boost to the union’s rescue fund.

The euro is trading higher after that result. The agreement forged to boost the fund did not include some of the asset purchase programs that many traders might have been hoping for, however.

The yen is the only currency in the U.S. Dollar Index basket that is trading lower this morning. The dollar is heading back down toward the lows of recent sessions. The weaker dollar is not helping commodity prices this morning. Gold has gained fractionally, but energy, agriculture, and industrial materials are mostly lower at this time.

In stock-specific news, Berkshire Hathaway announced it would acquire Lubrizol in a deal worth $9.7 billion. Family Dollar Stores announced higher sales figures, and that stock may be active as a result. There are no scheduled S&P 500 earnings for today.

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