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Stocks Poised To Open Higher

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The U.S. futures were solidly higher this morning. Dow futures were better by about 60 points; Nasdaq futures were up by 15 points; the S&P contract was higher by more than six points. Treasury were slipping in the early going. The benchmark 10-Year Yield (TNX.X) was higher to 5.223%.

The Labor Department reported that the producer price index rose 1 percent during March. The jump was the biggest in over a year. The biggest rise in prices was seen in the energy component of the index. Ex-food and energy, however, the core rate rose only 0.1 percent, which was in-line with estimates.

Late last night, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said that it had opened and closed an investigation into IBM (NYSE:IBM) without any action. Shares of IBM had been down after its recent warning, but also on speculation that the SEC was investigating its business practices. As a result of the SEC's report of inaction, shares of IBM were trading sharply higher in the extended session. The stock was indicated well above Thursday's close.

The discount airline JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU) will IPO today. The initial offering was priced at $27, above the expected range -- a sign of strong demand. The company increased the size of its offering to 5.88 million shares. The debut of the airline will serve as a good gauge of the sentiment of the broader airline sector.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez resigned under military pressure. Venezuela is a larger player in the global oil market, so the political unrest in that region may have an impact on energy prices today. Crude oil wasn't responding in the early going, but is worth watching as the day progresses.

April's preliminary consumer sentiment number is due out at 9:45 a.m. EST. The market expects a reading of 96.9.

Eric Utley
Option Investor

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