U.S. stocks are set to soar at the open, after Congress passed a budget deal last Tuesday night that avoids income tax rate increases on most Americans. The major averages are coming off a strong final session of 2012 that broke a five-day losing streak, and the S&P 500 managed to finish the year with its best annual gain since 2009.
The first two economic reports of the new year come at 10 a.m. New York time, when the December ISM manufacturing index and November construction spending figures are issued. Economists are looking for the ISM index to come in at 50.5, a point higher than November levels and back above the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction. Construction spending is seen rising 0.7 percent following a 1.4 percent rise in October. This comes ahead of the most anticipated data of the week, the December employment report due out on Friday morning.
There are no earnings reports on the schedule for today, though fourth quarter earnings season is just around the corner with Dow component Alcoa (AA) kicking things off next Tuesday afternoon.
Wynn Resorts (WYNN), Las Vegas Sands (LVS), and MGM Resorts (MGM) could get some positive attention today, on new figures showing casino revenues in Macau rose 13.5 percent last year to a record $38 billion. December revenue also hit a monthly record at $3.5 billion.
ArcelorMittal (MT) will sell its $1.1 billion stake in Canadian iron ore miner Labrador Trough to South Korea's POSCO for $1.1 billion. The world's biggest steelmaker is seeking to cut debt.
Bank of America (BAC) is the subject of a Wall Street Journal article this morning, which suggests it may want to consider repurchasing Warren Buffett's investment in the bank. In 2011, Buffett bought $5 billion in preferred stock with a 6% dividend, along with 700 million warrants. Bank of America was 2012's best-performing Dow stock and the story says this would be a show of strength.
Intel's (INTC) push into internet-based TV is being hit by delays, according to another Journal article. Some analysts now say the service may not be introduced until late in 2013. Speculation about Intel's foray into this area comes ahead of next week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) is continuing to evaluate the idea of selling businesses that no longer meet its objectives, according to an SEC filing.
Apple (AAPL) has been testing hardware for the iPhone 6, according to tech blog The Next Web. The blog also says Apple is working on iOS 7, the next version of its operating system for the iPhone and iPad.
Cablevision (CVC) has struck a long term carriage deal with Viacom (VIAB), the parent of networks such as MTV and Comedy Central, according to the New York Post.
Urban Outfitters (URBN) has been upgraded by Jefferies to "hold" from "underperform", with the firm downgrading rival retailers American Eagle (AEO) and Ann Inc. (ANN) to "hold" from "buy".
Target (TGT) has been downgraded to "hold" from "buy" at Jefferies, with the firm saying it expects December same-store sales to rise less than analysts generally expect.