Despite a spike in imported oil prices, the U.S. trade gap fell slightly to $31.6 billion in March from $31.8 billion in February. The March $31.6 billion numbers was slightly better than the $32.2 billion forecast from economists.
Exports rose 0.6% to $79.2 billion, the highest level since August. Imports increase 0.3% to $110.8 billion in March, also the highest since August.
For the first quarter, exports were down 12.1% versus year-ago levels at $236.1 billion as the U.S. dollar strengthened versus world currencies. Conversely, first-quarter imports of $327.8 billion declined 9.9% from a year earlier, reflecting the sharp decline in industrial activity.
Dell active in pre-market action
Shares of Dell Computer (NASDAQ:DELL) $27.85 are trading higher in pre-market action at the $28.36 level after the PC box-maker posted earnings last night that beat estimates by a penny. Last night the company reported earnings of $0.17 a share on revenues that rose 0.5% year-over-year to $8.07 billion versus consensus of $7.87 billion. In the company's conference call, DELL said demand has stabilized and the company is seeing improvement in some areas. In Q1 (April), average selling prices increased 4% sequentially, partially due to a shift to more sales of notebook computers to the corporate market.
Consumer sentiment due out at 09:45 AM EST
Traders will be watching the newswire closely at 09:45 AM EST as consumer sentiment numbers are scheduled to be released. Economists are looking for a reading of 93.0 for May, which would be unchanged from April's 93.0 reading.
Stock futures trading higher
Stock futures are showing gains as S&P futures trade up 5.10 points at 1,104.20. NASDAQ futures are higher by 22 points at 1,345.50 and Dow futures are up 41 points at 10,334.
Fair value for the S&P 500 today is $0.24. That price will not change during the day. HL Camp & Company has their computers set for program buying at $1.55 and set for program selling at $-1.19. Fair value for the NASDAQ-100 today is $2.50.
Today is option expiration, so check your account to see if you might not have an option expiring at the end of today's session that you didn't know about.