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European Markets

European Markets are called to open flat this morning

 

Asian Markets

Asian stocks rose, snapping three straight days of losses, as commodity prices advanced after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. suggested buying oil, copper and zinc and Sony Corp. (6758) said it expects to turn to profit.

Korea Zinc Co., which also produces gold and silver, jumped 6.7 percent in Seoul. Jiangxi Copper Co., China’s No. 1 producer of the metal, advanced 0.6 percent in Hong Kong. Sony gained 2.8 percent after saying it expects to turn to profit in fiscal 2011.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.2 percent to 131.91 as of 2:35 p.m. in Tokyo, after dropping as much as 0.4 percent earlier. About five stocks rose for each four that fell on the gauge, which last week slid for the third straight week as Greece’s debt crisis intensified, Japan’s economy contracted, and disappointing U.S. economic data fueled concern about the global recovery.

“Markets are quite twitchy,” said Nader Naeimi, a Sydney- based strategist for AMP Capital Investors Ltd., which has almost $100 billion under management. “ The data is blowing hot and cold, so for a while it’s going be a case of two steps up, one step down.”

US Markets

U.S. stocks closed sharply lower Monday as simmering worries about Europe’ debt problems boiled over, sending investors in search of safety.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) slumped 131 points, or 1%, to 12,381. The S&P 500 (SPX) fell 16 points, or 1.2%, to 1,317. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) tumbled 44 points, or 1.6%, to 2,759.

The selling was broad-based, with all 30 Dow components in the red. Caterpillar (CAT, Fortune 500), Alcoa (AA, Fortune 500) and Du Pont (DD, Fortune 500) were the biggest laggards on the blue-chip index.

Financial stocks also faltered, with shares of Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500), PMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500), Wells Fargo (WFC, Fortune 500), Citigroup (C, Fortune 500) and Goldman Sachs (GS, Fortune 500) all down more than 1%.

On Friday, rating agency Fitch cut Greece’ credit rating by three notches to “highly speculative,” putting it in junk bond territory. In addition, Standard & Poor’ slashed Italy’ outlook to’negative’ from ‘table.’ The downgrades, combined with a weaker-than-expected reading on manufacturing in Europe, renewed concerns about the eurozone’ debt crisis.

Furthermore, Spain’ ruling Socialist party was hit with its worst election defeat in years over the weekend, as citizens continued to protest the weak economy and high unemployment.

Events this week

 

 

Tuesday: The new-home sales index for April from the Census Bureau is due at shortly after the opening bell.

 

The index is expected to have remained unchanged from the previous month at an annual rate of 300,000 units.

 

Wednesday: Before the market opens, earnings are due from Costco (COST, Fortune 500), Polo Ralph Lauren (RL, Fortune 500) and luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers (TOL).

A report on durable orders in April is also out in the morning.

 

 

Thursday: Wall Street will get a second reading on the U.S.’ first-quarter gross domestic product. Economists expect economic growth to be revised to 2%, up from the initial estimate of 1.8%.

The weekly report on people filing for initial jobless claims is also due in the morning. Claims are expected to have fallen to 400,000 in the latest week, from 409,000 the previous week.

Also on tap: quarterly financial results from Tiffany & Co. and Sony.

 

 

Friday: Before the start of trading, investors will get data on personal income and spending for April. Economists expect income edged up 0.4% last month, while spending increased 0.5%.

 

 

Shortly after the opening bell, the University of Michigan will put out its final reading on consumer sentiment in May. Economists

expect the figure to remain unchanged at 72.4.

National Association of Realtors is expected to show a 1.8% decline in pending home sales for the month of March.