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It's All About The Dollar....And Commodities

Bob Pisani is off today, this post was written by CNBC producer Robert Hum.

Futures trade in a fairly tight range this morning ahead of a key 10-year Treasury note auction around 1pm ET today and the earnings season kickoff this afternoon with Dow component Alcoareporting results after the close.

Despite the indications of a fairly flat open, the recent declines in the markets have been notable, with the S&P 500 now down about 7 percent from its June highs. Additionally, the S&P ended the day yesterday below its 200-day moving average for the first time in a couple of weeks and resting at its lowest level since May 1.

Eyes will continue to be on the dollar/commodity trade again today. The U.S. Dollar Indexis currently up slightly again today for the fourth time in five days. As a result, commodities are once again lower today – falling 1 percent to 2 percent in early morning trading. Crude oil is now down for the seventh straight session, amounting to a 13 percent decline during that time.

Elsewhere:

1) Shares of restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday are soaring 10 percent after its Q4 earnings handily beat estimates (28 cents vs. 19 cents est.) as cost cuts and improved sales helped. While same-store sales continued to fall (down 3.2 percent in Q4), the rate of change slowed substantially from down 6.8 percent in Q3 and down 10.8 percent in the first half of the year.

Additionally, the company hopes same-store sales declines will continue to improve in its new fiscal year (down 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent) and projects earnings per share to be between 50 cents and 65 cents, solidly inline with the street’s expectations of 55 cents.

2) Family Dollar shares are up 8 percent after the discounter reported better-than-expected Q3 earnings on improved margins and sales. Attracting customers with many lower-priced essentials, traffic increased in the quarter as same-store sales rose 6.2 percent. Looking ahead, the retail chain sees Q4 comp. store sales growing 2 percent to 4 percent and earnings to be between 39 cents and 43 cents - above estimates of 39 cents.

3) Las Vegas Sands rises 5 percent pre-open after Chairman Sheldon Adelson said at a news conference that business at its Las Vegas casinos was exceeding prior forecasts. Additionally, he said that business in Macau was “bucking the trend” and that the company was considering a $3.5 billion IPO of its Macau assets on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

4) Pepsi Bottling Group’s Q2 earnings beat estimates as more favorable pricing, lower commodity costs, and better cost controls offset a 4 percent decline in volumes. The bottler, which is the target of a current takeover bid by PepsiCo, now expects full-year earnings to be at the high end of its previous guidance of $2.30-$2.40.

5) Discover Financial Services priced its previously-announced seconding offering. 54.1 million shares were priced at $9.25, slightly below yesterday’s close of $9.37, raising about $480 million for the company.

6) Mortgage applications rose 10.9 percent last week, bouncing off a 7-month low. The Mortgage Bankers Association also reported that the average 30-year mortgage rate remained unchanged at 5.34 percent.

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