Stocks rallied for a second day Tuesday as news that Australia has raised rates revitalized hope for the global recovery.
The big news in the market today was that gold settled at a record near $1,039 an ounce after hitting an intraday record high above $1,042. Oil rose above $71 and the dollar retreated.
One popular topic of conversation in the oil pits this morning is a report that oil producing nations are in talks to replace the U.S. dollar with a basket of currencies for trading oil.
The rise in commodity prices gave a boost to commodity and industrial stocks, including Alcoa and Caterpillar .
Boeing said it will take a charge of $1 billion in the third quarter because of higher production costs and tough market conditions for its 747-8 program. And, it will delay the first flight of the jumbo 747-8 Freighter to 2010.
Banks were the leader in Europe after Bank of America-Merrill Lynch upgraded European banks to "overweight." This comes on the heels of Goldman Sachs' upgrade of the large-cap banking sector in the U.S. on Monday.
Intel and other chip stocks will be in the spotlight after research firm Gartner said it expects global semiconductor revenue could grow about 10 percent next year, after a two-year slide, amid increased demand for computers and smartphones.
All this, of course, could be either waylaid or boosted by earnings season, which officially kicks off tomorrow afternoon when Dow component Alcoa reports quarterly results.
There are no major economic reports on the calendar today, and very few notable earnings reports. After the bell, investors will get quarterly numbers from Yum Brands, the parent of the KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut chains.
That's according to The Independent newspaper, but that report has been denied by top officials in Saudi Arabia and Russia, the two biggest oil producers in the world.
NutriSystem could be a stock to watch today, as it announces that it will sell its 14-day Starter program at Wal-Mart, the first time the company has sold its products in the retail channel.
We'll also watch retail stocks today, as a National Retail Federation survey says 2009 holiday sales could fall 1 percent compared to last year, which would be the first back-to-back drop since the group began tracking holiday season sales in 1992.
The Treasury will auction $39 billion in 3-year notes Tuesday, with results available shortly after 1 pm New York time. That follows Monday's auction of 10-year TIPS, which saw stronger-than-expected demand.