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Stock Market Preview for 04/06/2011

April 6, 2011

U.S. stock index futures are higher in the latest of several light-volume pre-market sessions. Asian markets closed mixed overnight, with Japan and India under performing, but strength this morning is coming from Europe.

Most markets in Europe began the day in the red but quickly headed higher fueled by stronger banking stocks. A short-term debt offering by Portugal was floated and sold at very high yields. The 12-month bill yield jumped to 5.902 percent.

The euro is the strongest currency against the dollar so far today, rising in anticipation of a rate hike tomorrow by the European Central Bank. Commodities have been mixed with the weaker dollar.

Crude oil is trading flat, while grains are the best performers in agricultural commodities. Industrial metals are rising along with precious metals. Gold hit a new intra-stock market previewday record high on a nominal basis, while silver reached a 31-year high.

In stock-specific news, American Superconductor shares lost nearly half their value after the company cut guidance last night after the market closed. A number of sell-side firms have reduced their ratings on the stock following the news.

Cephalon shares are trading lower after the company rejected a hostile takeover bid from Valeant.

Monsanto just reported earnings results at the time of this writing. At first glance earnings appear to be in line with expectations, though full-year 2011 results on an as-reported basis appear a little lighter than expected. So far the shares are trading relatively flat.

We will also hear earnings news from Bed Bath & Beyond today. Constellation Brands reports tomorrow morning before the open.

Earnings season begins in earnings next week, starting with Alcoa reporting on Monday. The relative doldrums we have seen in trading volumes will likely come to an end as results hit the tape.

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