By Bryan McCormick
U.S. stock index futures are higher Monday after a mostly positive session in Asian markets, with mainland China on the downside.
Eurozone and U.K. markets are also positive, with banking shares especially strong. In U.S. markets the Nasdaq 100 futures are well above those of the S&P 500 partly because of news that chip sales increased for the ninth consecutive month in beating estimates.
Sell-side research analysts are very active on the first trading day of the new year. The following are a few select calls. Deutsche Bank upgraded the U.S. refining sector to "neutral" and Tesoro (TSO) to "buy." Baird upgraded both Intel (INTC) and UPS (UPS) to "outperform." Barclays upgraded Boeing (BA) to "overweight." Goldman Sachs raised its price target on Monsanto (MON) to $88 and boosted its price target on Eastman Chemical (EMN) to $77.
Tuesday will see quite a few companies reporting earnings. In non-S&P 500 names, Sonic (SONC), AngioDynamics (ANGO), and Mosaic (MOS) will release results. No S&P 500 companies are scheduled to report until Wednesday. Those companies are Family Dollar (FDP), Monsanto (MON), and Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY).
The U.S. Dollar Index is down Monday, helping to lift most commodities. But in terms of proportionate effect it is more fundamentals, as opposed to the small drop in the dollar, that is driving pricing. Natural gas and crude are both significantly higher today, with oil topping the $80 mark in response to record cold temperatures in Eastern states.
As I noted several times late last year, the dollar itself has ceased being a good broad indicator of how other assets will price. We will have to see if the nearly perfect inverse correlation that existed between the dollar and most asset classes through 2009 reasserts itself. Commodities are likely to remain most sensitive to dollar fluctuations.
(Chart courtesy of tradeMONSTER)