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Risk Trade Is Back On

Editor's Note: Bob Pisani is off this week, this post was written by CNBC producer Robert Hum.

After pausing for the past couple of days, the risk trade resumes. The dollar is having its worst day in 2 weeks, pushing stock futures up nicely this morning. Commodities are rising on the weak dollar, with the metals complex (gold, silver, platinum and copper) rising to new highs. Many metal and energy stocks are up 2 percent to 3 percent pre-open.

Not moving in pre-market trading are healthcare stocks following the healthcare bill vote in the Senate over the weekend. In a highly partisan vote to open discussion on the bill, the Democratic caucus voted unanimously to begin debate on the 2,074-page bill, which barely passed by a 60-39 margin. However, major issues remain, particularly pertaining to opposition of a public healthcare option, and many believe the bill won’t be approved in its current form.

With gains today, stocks would snap three straight days of declines – their worst streak in nearly a month.

Elsewhere:

Tyson up 2 percent after beating Q4 estimates ($0.28 vs. $0.26 consensus). Earnings were helped by improved margins and lower grain costs, while the meat producer’s better-than-expected sales were boosted by stronger chicken prices (up 0.6 percent) and volumes (up 10 percent). Beef volumes were also up a solid 14 percent, but prices fell 16 percent in the quarter.

Looking ahead, chicken demand and pricing are expected to improve in 2010, but no significant change is expected in its beef operations.

LDK Solar rises 7 percent pre-open after its Q3 earnings surprised the Street (earnings of $0.27 vs. loss of $0.10 consensus) on improving demand. The solar company also guided Q4 sales significantly above analyst estimates ($280 million-$310 million vs. $258.7 million consensus) as wafer shipments are expected to increase from the third quarter.

Deere up 4 percent after the agricultural equipment maker was upgraded to “overweight” at Morgan Stanley.

UPS announced it would raise air and ground shipping rates an average of 4.9 percent on January 4. The rate increase for ground shipping is lower than last year’s hike of 5.9 percent, while air hikes rose by the same amount as last year.

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