The dollar gained ground this morning after Benoit Coeure of the European Central Bank said the ECB would step up quantitative easing in May, June and possibly September to keep bond purchases averaging 60 billion euros per month. The news helped send European stocks rallying.
Coeure said the ECB worried that a recent European bond sell-off has erased benefits the central bank's one trillion euro QE program. Elsewhere in Europe, German investor confidence fell below consensus estimates as growth slowed. The ZEW Center for European Economic Research reported that its index of investor-and-analyst expectations came in at 41.9 in May. That's the lowest reading so far this year, down from 53.3 in April and beneath a consensus estimate of 49. Any reading below 50 points to economic contraction.
In Asia, the Shanghai Composite rallied as investors express confidence in the People's Bank of China's action to further stimulate the Asian nation's economy through quantitative easing.
In America, U.S. equity futures are indicating a positive open, while oil is lower in early morning trading.
Notable corporate earnings due out today include Home Depot (HD), Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS), TJX Cos. (TJX), Autodesk (ADSK), Analog Devices (ADI), ViaSat (VSAT), Computer Sciences (CSC) and Heico (HEI).
On today's economic calendar, April housing starts and building permits came in much better than analysts had expected. Housing starts totaled a 1.14 million pace for the month vs. a 1.015 million consensus forecast. Building permits also hit a 1.14 million pace, beating expectations for a 1.064 million level. At 8:55 a.m. we get the Redbook weekly sales report, while the API weekly oil-inventories report comes out at 4:30 p.m.