Wednesday's trading could add a bit of zing to stocks

There should be more zing in Wednesday's trading as traders return from the Veterans Day holiday, and the U.S. bond market gets back to work. But it could also be the first down day in six for the Dow and S&P 500, as U.S. futures come under pressure this morning.

Sentiment was soured in part by the global banking sector after a group of banks agreed to pay fines to U.S., British and Swiss regulators of about $3.4 billion to resolve allegations that they worked together to manipulate currency. J.P. Morgan and Citigroup were among the banks. J.P. Morgan was slightly lower.

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Earnings from Macy's could help put the early focus on consumers ahead of Wednesday's opening bell. There are also earnings expected from Burberry, Beazer Homes, SeaWorld, Pinnacle Foods and EnCana. After the bell reports are expected from Cisco, JC Penney, NetApp, HubSpot, Cyber Ark Software and Amerigas. Twitter also holds an investor day from noon to 7 p.m. ET.

Wholesale trade data is released as 10 a.m., and the Treasury auctions $24 billion 10-year notes. The bond market was closed Tuesday.

Besides earnings, there are two Fed speakers: Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser spoke on the economy in London at 3 a.m. ET, and Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota speaks on monetary policy at noon. Plosser said the strong dollar does not pose a significant risk.

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Stocks meandered in quiet holiday trading Tuesday, and the Dow managed to eke out a last-minute rally to close up 1 at a record 17,614, for a sixth day of gains. The S&P 500, also at a record, was up 1 at 2,039. The Nasdaq outperformed, gaining 8 points to end at 4,660.


Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

The Dow traded in its narrowest range since Aug. 27.

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Oil was mixed Tuesday with West Texas intermediate edging slightly higher and Brent falling to a new four-year low. Traders said Brent was pressured as it looks doubtful OPEC will make production cuts to support the price at its Nov. 27 meeting.

Brent stayed under pressure early Wednesday, briefly dipping below $81 per barrel. Sentimene remained negative even with International Energy Agency forecasts for higher demand.

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There are also expectations that U.S. inventory from API Wednesday afternoon and the government Thursday morning will show a build in oil supplies.

James Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management, said the retailer earnings this week and Friday's retail sales data could start to show positive impacts from falling gasoline prices.

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"I do think there's some building expectations with the job market reports and energy prices and even mortgage rates that the consumer should start to show some pickup here," he said. "We've had some good GDP numbers. If anything the consumer side of the equation has been weak, and it's sort of inexplicable given everything else."

Paulsen said he's also watching Wal-Mart earnings Thursday but especially Friday's October retail sales reading. "I guess what you're wondering is if there is any evidence that gas prices are affecting consumers. There's been just about enough time that they should start to show up a little bit. You certainly have seen it in confidence numbers, and if it really shows up in retail numbers, I think people will take notice of it."