Market Happenings for Monday, March 26, 2012

Pre-market, futures are up as Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s comments on the job market gave investors reason to believe interest rates will stay low. Gainers this morning include RRC, IGT, ETFC, DE and ANR while losers include WFM, GILD, EW, SWY and WY.

The Market

In an address Monday to the National Association for Business Economics, Federal Reserve chairman Bernanke 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.” His comments suggested that the central bank is prepared to keep interest rates low for an extended period of time.

European stocks were mixed in afternoon trading while Asian markets ended little changed.

The dollar was up against the euro, British pound and Japanese yen.

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

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

The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury slipped lower, pushing the yield up to 2.28% from 2.24% late Friday.

Earnings Reports

Earnings reports (confirmed releases): APOL-Apollo Group (earnings consensus $0.37), KIOR-KiOR Inc. (-0.15), CALM-Cal-Maine Foods (1.02).

Financial Calendar

0700 ET Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser speaks on monetary policy on a panel with former ECB Council member Axel Weber along with BOF Governor and current ECB Council member Christian Noyer at the Global Independence Center conference in Paris.

0800 ET Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks on “A View from the Federal Reserve” to the 2012 NABE policy conference in Arlington, VA.

0830 ET Feb Chicago Fed national activity index, Jan -0.31 to 0.22.

1000 ET Feb pending home sales expected +1.0% m/m, Jan +2.0% m/m and +10.3% y/y.

1130 ET Weekly 3-mo and 6-mo T-bill auctions.

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