U.S. futures are pointed sharply higher on Tuesday as the Martin Luther King holiday-shortened trading week kicks off today. Stocks are climbing globally despite weak economic news out of China showing that the country's economy recorded the slowest annual pace of growth ¿ 6.9% -- in 25 years. For the first time ever, the country's service industry accounted for the bulk of the economy as industrial output continues to be a weak spot in the country.
Despite the weak fourth quarter economic news, Asian stocks are leading the global rally as the Shanghai Composite, Hong Kong's Hang Seng and Japan's Nikkei all closed trading up today. The German DAX is up 2.15%, France's CAC 40 is climbing 2.41% and the UK's FTSE 100 is rallying 2.15% with about three hours left in trading across the Atlantic.
Stocks are rising despite continued oversupply concerns in the oil sector after the International Energy Agency warned that global oil markets could "drown in oversupply," resulting in an even steeper decline in crude prices. The agency lowered its 2016 global oil demand estimates while also raising its production guidance for non-OPEC countries.
While the IEA believes that non-OPEC oil output will fall by 600,000 barrels per day, newly unsanctioned oil from Iran will more than fill the gap, resulting in a world surplus of 1.5 million barrels a day in the first half of the year. OPEC forecast a steeper drop of 660,000 barrels per day for non-member country production.
Despite this bearish forecast, oil prices are climbing, with industry standard Brent crude up 4.73% to $29.90, while West Texas crude futures are up 1.73% to $29.93. Oil prices have fallen about 21% year-to-date.
Jim Cramer, Action Alerts PLUS co-manager and host of CNBC's "Mad Money ," told viewers he was bullish on Action Alerts PLUS holding Starbucks (SBUX) and Dividend Stock Advisor holding General Electric (GE) on Friday. While acknowledging that markets are difficult right now, Cramer said he'd be a buyer of both Starbucks and General Electric on any continued market-induced weakness. Starbucks will report earnings on Thursday and GE on Friday, but Cramer said he's a fan of both companies over the long term.
During the program, Cramer also said that the stocks he will be watching today include Morgan Stanley (MS), which topped analysts' quarterly top and bottom line expectations today, Delta Airlines (DAL), IBM (IBM), and Netflix (NFLX), which all report after the closing bell today.
Bank of America (BAC), another Action Alerts PLUS holding, reported mixed fourth quarter results today, earning $0.29 per share on revenue of $19.5 billion versus analyst expectations of earnings of $0.26 per share on revenue of $19.86 billion.