Stocks are set to open higher, reversing an early negative trend, after consumer inflation data showed muted increases in core inflation. However, the CPI rose at a 0.6% rate when including food and energy, its highest rise since last April. Housing starts rose 0.8%, beating analysts expectatons but below February's increase.
STOCKS ROCK The market's bounce yesterday pushed the Dow ahead by 108 points, or an 0.86% gain, reaching its highest close since Feb. 21. The Dow is now just 66 points below its all time high. The S&P 500 jumped 1% to a new 6-1/2 year high, and Nasdaq also rose 1% to its highest close since Feb. 21. The DJ Wilshire 5000 jumped 1% to a record close, and the Russell 2000, was up nearly 1.5% to a new record.
"We had three things happen," says our Bob Pisani of yesterday's market move. "We had good economic data. We had another M&A Monday, and we had Citigroupand Wachovia with very good earnings. That really relieved the Street even though both acknowledged they had some issues with mortgages. Financials have lagged the market. It's been the biggest problem the bulls have had. You had a real belt up here. There were a lot of people trying to short the market as it was moving up. We had nearly 300 new highs (on the NYSE). We hit new highs in Europe."
"Technically, it was one of the strongest days we've seen since the third week of February," said Pisani. "The key thing was the financials led ...brokers were very strong. It was really a big day."
EARNINGS CENTRAL Earnings reports come today from a few big tech names - Yahoo, Intel and IBM, all expected after the bell. Among those reporting this morning are Coca Cola, which saw a 14 % jump in profits on its biggest gain in revenues in years. Johnson and Johnson, meanwhile, reported a 22 % drop in profits.
GETTING POUNDED British sterling touched $2 on pesky signs of inflation in the U.K. Consumer price inflation for March was 3.1%, its highest level since comparable records began due to increases in food, electricity and gas prices, but also on the ability of businesses to pass along price hikes. Sound familiar? Our Phil Lebeau will look at food inflation in the U.S. today.
VIRGINIA TECH Preisdent Bush will visit Virginia Tech today to pay his respects to the many dead in yesterday's campus shooting.