Markets are poised to open with modest gains, with traders taking an optimistic view that Europe will be able to dig itself out of its debt crisis. It would be the second day in a row major indexes have advanced.
Reuters quoted European officials this morning as saying that Spain is ready to request a euro zone bailout for its public finances as early as next weekend. Most believe that action would be positive for markets, as it would trigger European Central Bank buying of Spain's bonds and help recharge the sagging European economy.
However, as is often the case in Europe, there's a but. Germany is signalling it wants Spain to hold off on a bailout, with Chancellor Angela Merkel not anxious to present another euro zone bailout to an acrimonious parliament.
The precarious state of economic conditions in Spain was on full display this morning. The country's jobless rate rose further in September as its services sector layoffs accelerated at the end of a busy summer tourist season, suggesting one in four of the country's workforce is now unemployed.
Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Australia surprised markets overnight, cutting its key lending rate amid weakening demand for its exports.
Here in North America, auto sales will be monitored for signals that consumers are spending more aggressively on goods. Other than that, it's a quiet day in terms of economic data.
Now, here's the rundown of what else you need to know before the trading day gets underway:
Futures: Dow +0.44 per cent, S&P 500 +0.60 per cent, Nasdaq +0.53 per cent
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index +0.37 per cent
Shanghai Composite index +1.44 per cent
Japan's Nikkei -0.12 per cent
London's FTSE 100 +0.27 per cent
France's CAC 40 +0.35 per cent
Germany's DAX index +0.56 per cent
WTI (Nymex Nov) +0.18 per cent at $92.65 (U.S.) a barrel
Gold (Comex Dec) -0.12 per cent at $1,781.20 (U.S.) an ounce
Copper (Comex Dec) +0.25 per cent at $3.80 (U.S.) a pound
Canadian dollar down 0.0008, or 0.08 per cent, at $1.0174 (U.S.)
STOCKS AND ECONOMIC INDICATORS TO WATCH:
Monthly sales are released by the major auto makers.
U.S. bank stocks could rise after Credit Suisse upgraded them to "overweight" from "benchmark," believing that loan growth and asset quality will "surprise on the upside."
J.P. Morgan Chase & CO. could come under pressure though after the New York Attorney General late Monday filed a lawsuit against the bank, alleging widespread fraud in the sale of mortgage-backed securities.
PetSmart Inc. is rising in the premarket after S&P said late Monday that the pet retailer will replace Sunoco Inc. in the S&P 500.
Consulting firm Interbrand said Research In Motion's BlackBerry has lost a staggering 39 per cent of its brand value and has fallen to No. 93 on the global list of the 100 most valuable brands, from No. 56. RIM shares are unchanged in the premarket.
Earnings include Mosaic Co.
THIS MORNING'S TOP INVESTING READS ON THE WEB:
An interesting argument on why you shouldn't be scared to purchase individual junk bonds, something most advisers would suggest is too risky for retail investors.
Google's market cap passed Microsoft's in early trading on Monday, making the search engine giant the second most valuable technology company in the world behind Apple.
David Bianco, the chief U.S. equity strategist at Deutsche Bank, believes the third-quarter earnings season will be one of the most disappointing earnings season since the economic recovery began.
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