European Stocks Trade Sideways

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Equity markets once again Wednesday saw a very slow session in European trading. Asia stocks ended mixed.

The major European indexes posted some small gains near the opening bell due to the activity seen in the futures market, but since then the European indices moved mostly sideways. The S&P 500 futures have a similar story line, moving less than 4 points since the day started.

European Trade: Almost every market is trading in the green in Europe, helped by the activity seen in the futures market. Until now, the gains are led by the Nordic and Eastern European markets, which are up somewhere around 1%. At the same time, the U.K.'s FTSE and the German DAX have advanced only 0.2%.

The DJ STOXX 600 stock index, which tracks the performance of the most representative 600 European companies, advanced 0.5% in Wednesday morning trade. Since the beginning of the current quarter, the DJ STOXX 600 index advanced nearly 20%, the most since 1999, something that denotes the depth and breadth of the current rally.

S&P Futures: The S&P futures had a very small range overnight, moving up and down around the 1055 area. The futures index might gain some additional momentum throughout the U.S. open as the market is preparing for a calendar loaded with important news reports. To the upside, the next important resistance is in the 1060 area.

Sector Moves: Banks were trading below the break-even line in most of European trade, as a new round of earnings reports is approaching and some investors might be tempted to take profits ahead of what tends to be a very volatile period. Insurers were higher in most markets, with Allianz ( AZ) up 3%, Swiss Re and Zurich Financial advancing 1.5%, and with Aviva up a little more than 4%. Technology stocks a traded mostly in the green as well, with Infineon up 6.0%, being the best performer in the German DAX.

Economic Moves: The economic calendar is loaded with important reports during the U.S. session. At 8:15 a.m. EDT investors will get the ADP Non-Farm Employment report. Investors might use the ADP numbers to gauge Friday's nonfarm payrolls report, which usually has a very strong effect in the global markets. The last three ADP reports came in worse than expected. At 08:30 a.m., the monthly Canadian gross domestic product report may show that the economy expanded 0.4% in July, the most in almost a year.

Crude oil for October delivery was recently trading at $67.40 a barrel, up 70 cents. Crude oil continues struggling to break above the $67.50 area, where it topped since the beginning of the week. A break above this level can only come on positive S&P futures and on a market able to sell the dollar. At 10:30 a.m., the market will get the crude oil inventories report.

Gold for October delivery was recently trading up by $7 to $1.001.50. Gold managed to break above the $1,000 area for the first time in almost a weak. The breakout came during the European session, as the precious metal gathered additional momentum.

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