The S&P 500 e-mini futures (ES M1) are trading higher this morning by 5.75 points to 1336.25 per contract. Earnings reports continue to be released in droves at this time. Most of the earnings releases have been better than expected and well received by the market. This morning, United parcel Service Inc.(NYSE:UPS) is trading higher by $1.11 to $74.75 a share after releasing their earnings report. This leading stock will usually help to lift most leading transport stocks.
The Federal Reserve begins a two day meeting today. Tomorrow the FOMC will release its Fed funds rate decision. The Fed funds rate has been at zero percent since December 2008, it is expected to remain at this level. Ben Bernanke will also hold his first ever press conference to discuss his views on the economy, he has also stated that he wants to be more transparent to the public. The pressure from Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) looks to be getting to the Federal Reserve Chairman. We shall see what Chairman Bernanke has to say tomorrow.
Last night, the Asian markets sold off sharply. The Nikkei 225 Index (Japan) sold off by more than 1.00 percent and this could put some pressure on many of the Japanese ADR's this morning. Stocks such as Toyota Motor Corp.(NYSE:TM), and Sony Corp.(NYSE:SNE), could come under some early pressure. The Hang Seng Index(Hong Kong), Sensex Index(India), and the Shanghai Index(NYSE:China), were also lower last night, however, they were down by less than 1.00 percent.
WTI oil is trading higher this morning by just 0.04 cents to $112.34 a barrel. The crisis in the Middle East and Northern Africa continues. There does not seem to be any real solution to this problem. The stock market does not really seem to be bothered by the conflict and protests in the region. At this time the U.S. Dollar Index continues to decline and this is certainly helping to keep all commodities including oil at high price levels. Gold and silver are trading slightly lower this morning.
The Case/Schiller Home Price Index was released this morning at 9:00 am EST. The report was lower by 1.1 percent in the month of February. It looks as if Washington, DC was the only region to have higher home prices compared to the twenty regions in the report. The stock market futures are not being effected by the report and that is all traders should care about.