Stock Futures Gain Ahead of Housing Data
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. futures were rising Monday after a report showed improvement in German business confidence and ahead of domestic home sales data.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 80 points, or 62.2 points above fair value, at 13,009. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 8.9 points, or 11.5 points above fair value, at 1402. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 17.8 points, or 22.3 points above fair value, at 2747.
The market is coming off its worst week of the year, with the S&P 500 and Dow losing 0.5% and 1.2%, respectively, last week. However, stocks are still on track to post their best first quarter in 14 years. With one week left to the quarter, the S&P 500 is up 11.1%, the Dow is up 7.1%, and the Nasdaq is up 17.8% year to date.
The week is fairly full in terms of economic reports, with investors getting data on the housing market and a look at consumer confidence and personal spending levels later in the week. At 10 a.m., the National Association of Realtors is expected to report that pending home sales rose 1% in February, after a 2% gain in January. The estimate is based on polls by Thomson Reuters.
Investors will be digesting regional reports from Dallas and Chicago. The Chicago Federal Reserve reported that its national activity index, which weighs production, income, employment, personal consumption and more, fell to a level of -0.09 in February, from 0.33 in January, which was its highest level since May 2010. A manufacturing survey from the Dallas Fed is expected at 10:30 a.m.
On Monday, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke warned of the effects of long term employment, saying that policymakers must monitor whether structural or cyclical factors are pushing up unemployment. "If progress in reducing unemployment is too slow, the long-term unemployed will see their skills and labor force attachment atrophy further, possibly converting a cyclical problem into a structural one," he explained.
In Europe, a report showed that business confidence in Germany rose unexpectedly in March. The Ifo institute's business climate index rose to 109.8 from a revised 109.7 when economists had expected the level to stay unchanged.
On Monday, Germany's DAX was up 1.1% while London's FTSE was up 0.75%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng closed flat while the Nikkei Average in Japan edged up 0.07% overnight.
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