The Day Ahead: Baby, It's Cold Outside

 | Jan 07, 2014 | 8:15 AM EST
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U.S. equities have been as cold as the polar vortex for the first three trading days of 2014, but futures appear ready to thaw out Tuesday morning.

European markets were also trading higher recently, helped by encouraging inflation and jobs data in the eurozone. Asian markets showed strength overnight, though Japan's Nikkei 225 index sagged.

On Monday, major U.S. indices finished lower for a third straight session after a report said December services activity grew at a lower rate than expected.

The U.S. trading imbalance shrank more than expected in November, helped by falling oil imports and increased exports. The trade gap narrowed to $34.3 billion from $40.6 billion the previous month, a nearly 13% decrease. Analysts had forecast a $39.9 billion gap.

We'll hear from a pair of Fed officials today: Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren will give a speech in Connecticut on the economic outlook at 8:30 a.m. and San Francisco Fed chief John Williams will deliver comments on the economy and monetary policy in Arizona at 2:10 p.m. ET. Monday, Congress confirmed Janet Yellen as the first female chair of the Federal Reserve in its 100-year history. The Fed's minutes for its December meeting are expected for release Wednesday.

A few earnings of note: Chipmaker Micron (MU), storage company The Container Store (TCS) and for-profit educator Apollo Group (APOL) are due to report after the close.

Analyst actions include upgrades of Yum! Brands (YUM) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), two Action Alerts PLUS holdings, and downgrades of Netflix (NFLX) and Michael Kors (KORS).

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volatility is quite low here, and we could see some downsides here in the short term. ...



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