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Stock Market Preview for 03/23/2011

March 23, 2011

U.S. stock index futures have fluctuated for most of the morning, and fought back from early losses once trading opened in Europe. Japanese equities fell for the first time in three sessions on news that the tsunami and earthquake caused an estimated $309 billion of damage. There were also reports of radiation spreading, and Tokyo’s water was declared unsafe for infants. ADBE

Other Asian markets were firm to higher aside from India’s Sensex. European markets began the day in the red, but quickly rebounded. Portugal faces a potential collapse of its minority socialist government today, one day before a European Union summit. Traders are concerned that a collapse may endanger financial support to Portugal, which is dragging on the euro.

In currency markets the U.S. dollar is higher against most of its basket with the euro and U.K. sterling the weakest. The pound gave back yesterday’s gains after the Bank of England voted 6-to-3 not to raise rates. The higher dollar is not impacting commodities as of yet.

Industrial metals, energy, agricultural products, and precious metals were all higher at time of writing. Crude oil is continuing to see a strong move up as West Texas Intermediate remains above the $105 per barrel level. Tensions in the Middle-East and Libya, with a spread of protests to Syria overnight, are supporting oil.

In stock specific news, Adobe Systems disappointed investors with its reduced outlook for the second quarter. The stock was on a wild ride in extended trading, dropping nearly 10 percent before rebounding. It’s now down about 1 percent before the bell.

Bank of America is down about 2 percent after it revealed that the Federal Reserve objected to its proposed capital-distribution increases.

Pulte Group climbed almost 6 percent after getting upgraded to Conviction Buy at Goldman Sachs. Jabil Circuit is up more than 9 percent after beating its second-quarter consensus earnings targets and raising estimates for its third quarter.

S&P 500 companies reporting tomorrow include Best Buy, ConAgra Foods, Darden Restaurants, Gamestop, and Oracle.

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