Wall Street is just a few spins of the wheel away from recouping its losses from the late February rout, but Iran's nuclear program, the start of the first-quarter earnings season and a gloomy report from the biggest U.S. home builder are keeping optimism in check.
Stock futures are up slightly. Claims by Iran that it has started industrial-scale uranium enrichment, which the West fears could be used to make nuclear weapons, have helped drive oil up toward $62 a barrel. Traders also are expecting a drop in U.S. gasoline inventories.
Aluminum company Alcoa reports quarterly earnings after the closing bell, kicking off the reporting season. As always, however, the focus will be on forecasts rather than recent results. From D.R. Horton's view, both outlook and results aren't so hot.
The largest U.S. home builder said the spring selling season was starting off weaker than usual, after quarterly net orders for new homes plunged 37 percent. The dollar fell toward a two-year low against the euro.
Some traders are taking their cues from rising U.S.-China trade tensions, and there's also caution ahead of this weekend's meeting of Group of Seven finance chiefs. U.S. Treasuries are up on bargain-hunting after a recent sell-off stemming from last week's stronger-than-expected employment data.
You won't see that kind of strength in Citigroup's payrolls. Everyone's speculating on just how many jobs the company will cut tomorrow, when its CEO unveils a major restructuring. CNBC says maybe 45,000, while The New York Times raises the possibility of 26,000 pink slips or reassignments.
Lisa Von Ahn News - Editor