Stocks: Bernanke comments to spur gain

@CNNMoneyInvest March 26, 2012: 8:40 AM ET
premarket

Click chart for more premarkets data.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks were poised to open higher Monday as Fed chairman Ben Bernanke's comments on the job market gave investors reason to believe interest rates will stay low.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU), S&P 500 (SPX) and Nasdaq (COMP) futures were higher. Stock futures indicate the possible direction of the markets when they open at 9:30 a.m. ET.

In an address Monday to the National Association for Business Economics, the Federal Reserve chairman said that while recent jobs data have been positive, "the better jobs numbers seem somewhat out of sync with the overall pace of economic expansion."

Futures edged higher during Bernanke's speech, as his comments suggest the central bank is prepared to keep interest rates low for an extended period of time.

A report on pending home sales is due later Monday, following a number of reports on the housing market last week, which provided a mixed picture of the sector. The housing market remains a source of worry despite other indicators suggesting the broader economy is improving.

U.S. stocks closed slightly higher Friday after moving unevenly throughout the day, but the Dow and S&P 500 both closed the week down. Only the Nasdaq was able to claw out a weekly gain.

Investors' enthusiasm was dampened by a series of dour economic reports out of China that underscored concerns about slower growth in the world's second largest economy.

Despite the off week, the S&P 500 is up 11% for the year while the Dow is 7% higher. The Nasdaq is up nearly 18% in 2012.

World markets: European stocks were mixed in afternoon trading. Britain's FTSE 100 (UKX) shed 0.2%, the DAX (DAX) in Germany gained 0.6% and France's CAC 40 (CAC40) was flat.

Asian markets ended little changed. The Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) and Japan's Nikkei (N225) added 0.1%, while the Hang Seng (HSI) in Hong Kong was flat.

Economy: Pending home sales for February are expected to have increased by 0.5%, after ticking up by 2% in January, according to a survey of analysts by Briefing.com.

Companies: Shares of Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF) were up more than 9% in premarket trading after a gangbusters opening weekend for the studio's post-apocalyptic teen death match film "The Hunger Games."

BATS Global Markets, an equities and options exchange operator, started trading Friday at $15.25, after pricing its initial public offering at $16, the low end of its estimated range.

BATS: Well, this is awkward

Trading was halted in late morning, however, as the exchange said it was investigating system issues, and by day's end, BATS announced it had withdrawn its IPO.

A BATS spokeswoman said Friday that the company had no further plans to go public at present.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar strengthened against the euro, the British pound and the Japanese yen.

Oil for May delivery slipped 11 cents to $106.76 a barrel.

Gold futures for April delivery fell $2.30 to $1,660.10 an ounce.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury dropped, pushing the yield up to 2.28% from 2.24% late Friday.  To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,432.14 23.60 0.14%
Nasdaq 4,105.96 10.44 0.25%
S&P 500 1,867.80 2.95 0.16%
Treasuries 2.70 -0.02 -0.81%
Data as of 12:35pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Facebook Inc 60.10 1.16 1.96%
Micron Technology In... 25.02 1.11 4.64%
Bank of America Corp... 16.08 -0.07 -0.46%
Cisco Systems Inc 23.56 0.36 1.53%
Pfizer Inc 30.60 0.35 1.16%
Data as of 12:20pm ET
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.36%4.24%
15 yr fixed3.39%3.26%
5/1 ARM3.36%3.27%
30 yr refi4.34%4.22%
15 yr refi3.38%3.24%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.