Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pre Open 11/18/09 - Housing and CPI likely to drive trading ...

Stock futures are pointing to a modestly higher opening Wednesday as investors await the latest report on the housing market.  Investors will be looking to see if the housing sector can build off on the positive news in the retailing sector the last two days.

The Commerce Department is expected to report construction of new homes and apartments grew 1.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 600,000 in October. Building permits, seen as a good indicator of future activity, are expected also expected to edge up 1.2 percent to an annual rate of 580,000 units.  Housing sales had been boosted by a government tax credit for first-time homebuyers, which was recently extended through June after it was set to expire at the end of November.  Any positive news in the homebuilding sector could further the recent strength in the market and pry more stock buyers off the sidelines.

Ahead of the opening bell, Dow Jones industrial average futures rose a modest 22, to 10,420 while Standard & Poor's 500 index futures rose 2.80, to 1,110.20.  The tech laden NASDAQ 100 index futures rose 4.00, or 0.2 percent, to 1.812.75.

Additionally later on today investors will get a look at inflation at the retail level. The Labor Department's Consumer Price Index, likely rose 0.2 percent in October, economists predicted. That would match September's increase. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, "core" consumer prices likely rose 0.1 percent last month.   Though many prognosticators keep predicting surging inflation it continues to be of little concern to the market as rising unemployment, nervous consumers and tight credit have kept prices stable.

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