Tuesday, December 22, 2009

US Stocks Ready To Rise At Open

. Tuesday, December 22, 2009

By stockOzone team

US stocks were poised to open higher Tuesday as investors await reports on the overall economy and the housing sector.

Dow Jones industrial average, Nasdaq-100 and S&P-500 futures were all higher. Futures measure current index values against their perceived future performance and offer an indication of how markets may open when trading begins.

Stocks rallied Monday, pushing the Dow back into positive territory for the month, as investors cheered a combination of analyst upgrades and corporate deal-making.

David Jones, chief market strategist at IG Markets in London, said that today's revision of the third-quarter gross domestic product could be the primary driver of the markets, especially if it bucks expectations and "gets revised to a better number."

"Momentum over the last couple of days has been strong," said Jones. "There's still a chance we could see the Dow hit 10,500 by the end of the year."

However, trading volume has been light, and "low volumes, as ever, tend to exaggerage the moves," he warned.

The Dow closed at 10,385 on Monday.

Economy: Before the opening bell, the Commerce Department releases its final revision of third-quarter gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com expect GDP to have risen at an annual rate of 2.7% in the three months ended in September.

While that would be below the 3.5% growth rate the government first reported in October, it would still be a marked improvement over the previous four quarters in which economic activity shrank.

Shortly after the market opens, the National Association of Realtors will release a report on existing home sales for November. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com expect the annual sales rate to rise to 6.25 million from 6.1 million in October.

Company news: Ford Motor (F, Fortune 500) announced Monday that it offering buyouts and early retirement to its 41,000 U.S. factory workers. The carmaker is looking to cut payroll costs in its effort to return to profitability by 2011.

World markets: Stocks in Asia closed higher, with Tokyo's Nikkei index up 1.9. European markets gained in midday trading.

Money and oil: The dollar gained against the yen and pound, but was lower versus the euro.

Crude oil for February delivery dropped 35 cents to $73.37 a barrel.

Gold for February delivery gained $1.60 to $1,097 an ounce.

Disclosure: Author does not own any of the stocks discussed here.

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