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The futures have been trading higher all morning, but not by a wide margin. Nevertheless, stocks look poised to open higher. The Nasdaq pre market indicator has been hovering around +5 all morning.

The early morning bid in the futures market resulted in slight weakness in the Treasury market. Yields were mostly higher this morning, with concentrated weakness in yield near the front end of the curve. The short term 13 week Yield (IRX.X) was trading at 1.680%.

U.S. business inventories fell again during February. The Commerce Department reported that inventories were 0.1 percent lower. The number once again revealed upside in the U.S. economic recovery.

Earnings Highlights

Dow component Citigroup (NYSE:C) reported first quarter numbers that missed expectations. The company blamed a charge from the Argentina economic crisis. Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), however, reported numbers that beat expectations. Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) reported an in line quarter; the company also reaffirmed guidance.

Foreign Markets

Asian markets were volatile overnight. Japan's Financial Supervisory Agency issued a report that revealed worsening conditions in the country's banking system. The agency said that loan loss charges would top $14.5 billion. Most major Japanese financials were hard hit following the report, but the major averages were boosted by rallies in technology and telecommunications stocks.

European shares traded higher ahead of the U.S. open. Buying of technology and energy shares boosted most major market averages across the Atlantic.

Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's recent ousted president, returned to power over the weekend. There's definitely a volatile situation developing there. The energy markets responded with a rally in oil. Crude was back above $24 per barrel, higher by more than 50 cents from Friday's close.

Eric Utley
Option Investor

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