U.S. stock futures are positive in early trading ahead of a Commerce Department report that may show the American economy expanded faster than the 1.8% expected in the first quarter of 2011. Economists are predicting growth of 2.2%.
Emerging market stocks posted strong gains overseas, led by South Korea, up 2.8%, its largest gain since June 2009. Both
, predict improving earnings and attractive valuations will lead to a rise in South Korean stocks. Also consumer confidence is at a three-month high according to the
Bank of Korea
The European Stoxx 600 index is lower by 0.2%, despite nearly a 0.5% gain in the Euro currency on the falling cost of insuring Euro debt.
On the earnings front,
rose 4% and
, up over 2%, both beat analysts' estimates. Meanwhile,
, the world's biggest software maker, gained almost 1% after Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn called for the replacement of Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer.
Technology stocks appear be showing leadership again with top companies like
positing gains that outpaced the market.
Gold and silver are taking a break this morning with the
SPDR Gold Trust ETF
down 0.25% and
iShares Silver Trust ETF
sinking 1.3% after a multi-day rally in the precious metals. On the Morning Call, Scott Redler and Alix Steel, mention that the 3-day easy move is over and sideways action in the upper range of the move would be bullish for the precious metals.
Stocks to watch as the action slows down into Memorial Day weekend include agriculture stocks with
CF Industries Holdings
up 3% yesterday, while
, up 2.7%, and
, up 1%, played catch-up.
Oil stocks remain in play after Goldman Sachs' note, as the
Oil Service HOLDRs ETF
rallied nearly 3% and
finished up 5%.
Polo Ralph Lauren
broke down after earnings, leading retailers lower with an 11% decline, while
bounced off lows, potentially setting up for another push upward.
Scott is long SPY, SLV, BAC, AAPL, NFLX, OIH, MGM, POT, VMW
This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.