U.S. stock markets are poised to rise today as more and more positive data convinces Wall Street that the economic recovery is for real.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Nasdaq Composite Index and the S&P 500 Index were all indicated higher following a rally in overseas markets. Germany's Dax, France's CAC-40 and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 all posted strong gains. Japan's Nikkei 25 also rose while China's Hang Seng declined.
For those looking for silver linings, there are plenty to choose.
Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) reported better-than-expected earnings after the close yesterday. Then again, the expectations for the number two PC maker were pretty low, so the "earnings beat" needs to be viewed in that context. Profit fell 23% even as shipments of consumer PCs dropped 17%, indicating that the aggressive price cutting by the Round Rock, Tex.-based company is showing results. Operating expenses also dropped 14%.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) struck a deal with China Unicom (NYSE: CHU) to sell the iPhone in the world's most populous country. Exactly how big of a boon that will be for Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple remains to be seen. Theft of intellectual property is rampant and it seems likely that China Unicom's larger rival China Mobil (NYSE: CHL) will introduce its own smartphone to counter the best-selling Apple model.
Other positive developments include a government report showing that the U.K.' s GDP shrunk less than expected and economic confidence in Europe also is on the rise. Investors will also get a closer look a how the U.S. consumer is faring.
A key Commerce Department report on personal spending and income. The Cash for Clunkers program is expected to boost personal spending, which accounts for two-thirds of all economic activity. Personal income also is expected to rise.