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Stock Market Preview for 04/11/2011

April 11, 2011

U.S. stock index futures are trading moderately higher on very light volume this morning after Asian markets closed mixed overnight, with Japan and China mostly lower. Japan expanded its evacuation zone around the Fukushima nuclear plant after a new 6.6-magnitude quake struck the region.stock market preview

European markets began the day on the upside but are now mixed halfway through their session. Export figures from China showed a trade deficit on strong domestic demand and inflation, but officials cautioned that a late-month surge in March would likely close that gap.

In currency markets the dollar drifted higher against most of its basket with the exception of the yen. Many commodities had traded to records earlier today, but have since sold off. Crude oil was lower after indications that Moammar Gaddafi had accepted an African Union peace plan, but rebel forces appear likely to reject that plan unless he agrees to step down.

The International Monetary Fund reduced its earlier and quite optimistic growth forecast figures for the United States, Japan, and Germany. Energy and industrial metals have turned lower, whil agricultural products were mixed. Gold declined slightly, but silver continued to move higher.

In stock-specific news, NYSE Euronext rejected the joint Nasdaq OMX/ICE bid over the weekend, saying it preferred the Deutsche Borse offer. Nasdaq OMX and ICE are likely to approach the shareholders of NYSE directly, stressing the superiority of their bid.

Level 3 announced that it would acquire Global Crossing in a deal valued at $3 billion, at a share price of $23.04. Schneider Electric said it may bid for Tyco International. BHP Billiton is trading higher after issuing a statement that there was no basis for rumors that it would acquire Woodside Petroleum.

First-quarter earnings season begins in earnest today with Alcoa’ posting results after the market closes The stock is trading up ahead of results. In S&P 500 names this week, Fastenal will report tomorrow.

JP Morgan results will come out on Wednesday in a key report for banking names. Google, Hasbro, and Supervalu will release their results on Thursday. On Friday Bank of America, Genuine Parts, Mattel, and Charles Schwab will report.

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