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Pre-market News and Views

 The S&P 500 e-mini(ES M1) futures began to decline around 5:00 am EST and are trading lower by 2.50 to 1321.50 per contract. At 8:30 am EST the initial jobless claims report was released and declined by 6,000 to 388,000 claims. This number was expected by most economists. Tomorrow is the highly anticipated government job report for the month of March. Most economists are expecting 195,000 new jobs to be announced. Despite this report not having much effect on the market over the past few months it will often cause investors and traders to remain on pause mode until the report is released tomorrow morning. Therefore, do not be surprised if the market trades sideways after the first couple of hours today.

The Asian markets were mixed last night, however, the highly followed Shanghai Index(China) closed lower by nearly 1.00 percent. This decline in the Shanghai Index could effect the leading commodity stocks in the early part of the trading session this morning. Leading commodity stocks such as Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.(NYSE:FCX), and Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.(NYSE:CLF) are a couple of stocks that will usually react off of the Shanghai Index.

The problems in Libya have not changed as violence continues to escalate. Other nations in the Middle East and North Africa remain in turmoil. This has caused oil to spike higher today by $1.61 to $105.91 a barrel. Lately, gold and silver have traded in tandem with oil and that is the case this morning as both precious metals are trading higher ahead of the opening bell.

Later this morning there will be two economic reports that are scheduled to be released. At 9:45 am EST the Chicago PMI will be released. The analyst consensus is for 69.5, the prior report was 71.2. At 10:am EST the Factory Orders report will be released. Analyst consensus is for 0.04 percent compared with the prior report that was 3.1 percent. These reports have had very little effect on the major stock market indexes recently.

Nicholas Santiago