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Stock futures follow revised GDP higher

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Stock futures are higher this morning as the final 4th quarter gross domestic product (GDP) numbers showed the economy grew at a 1.7% pace, revised higher than the previously reported 1.4% rate.

The revised higher GDP number helped boost stock futures to morning highs and S&P futures currently trade higher by 3 points to 1,148. NASDAQ futures are also higher, trading up 13.5 point to 1,451 and Dow futures are bid higher by 25 points at 10,455.

Fair value for the S&P 500 today is $2.20. HL Camp & Company has their computers set for program buying at $3.50 and set for selling at $0.80.

Jobless claims higher than expected

This morning's jobless claims number is keeping gains in the futures market in check as first time claims for unemployment in the latest week rose unexpectedly by 18,000 to 394,000, the highest level since mid-January. The four-week moving average rose by 3,250 to 383,500, the highest since the last week of January.

Economists were looking for today's jobless claims number to come in at the 375,000 level, so this morning's number is a bit disappointing.

The bond market is taking this morning's economic data in stride and YIELDS remain near unchanged levels. The benchmark 10-year YIELD ($TNX.X) is down fractionally to YIELD 5.326%.

Juniper warning somewhat muted

Shares of Juniper Networks (NASDAQ:JNPR) are the most actively traded stock in early pre-market action at $11.65, down 2.2% from yesterday's close, after the telecom equipment warned last night that earnings were not going to meet estimates. Credit Suisse First Boston is saying "Similar to the prior two pre-releases, the shortfall was attributed to cautious carrier spending as Juniper's service provider customers continue to delay capex decisions in an uncertain environment. We view the stock as attractive below the $10, but no need to be aggressive as although we believe we could be near the bottom, no signs of an upturn, in our view," the broker said.

Gold off best levels

Before this morning's jobless data was release, April Gold futures (gc02j) had jumped right to our retracement resistance level at $304.10/oz, but have since settled back to the $301.70 level. "Gold bugs" trading some gold stock should be aware of this and perhaps consider trading for some profits or snugging up some stops in their underlying stocks to help assure some profits. In early February, this contract "spiked" higher twice above this $304 level, but was not able to hold those levels. This morning's action may hint that gold traders may have been or are indeed playing the "economic/inflation" scenario as it relates to the recent rise in gold stocks.

Jeff Bailey
Senior Market Technician
Option Investor

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