Stocks in the U.S. are following Europe’s lead and are trading higher in the early session.
News of a meeting between Italian banks and the government about establishing a toxic loan fund boosted the major European indices. Italian banks have been struggling with a mountain of non-performing loans and the fund would help the banks with this overhang.
The S&P 500 is up 7 points to 2,054, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 62 points to 17,640 and the Nasdaq is higher by 20 points to 4,868.
Under Armour Inc. stock is down by over 1 percent to $42.88 after its star golfer Jordan Spieth lost the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga., on Sunday. Spieth was in the lead, but melted down at the 12th hole. Under Armour recently launched Spieth’s line of golfwear and has been banking on the young player’s rising popularity. Instead of going home in the green Masters jacket, Spieth was decked out in a blue Under Armour golf shirt from his new line.
Overstock.com Inc.’s chief executive officer is taking a personal leave of absence for a medical condition. In a letter to shareholders, ceo Patrick Byrne said that he had been battling Stage IV Hepatitis C that he got when getting a head wound stitched up in China under “less-than-ideal” conditions. He didn’t say when he thought he would return and suggested vice president and general counsel Mitch Edwards as acting ceo. The stock is up 17 cents to trade at $14.50.
Looking ahead, earnings season starts with numbers from the metals bellwether Alcoa after the market closes today. Perry Ellis International Inc. will deliver earnings on Tuesday before the market opens. The FactSet estimate is for fourth-quarter earnings per share to be 35 cents and sales of $214 million. Tiffany Inc. will be hosting an investor day on Tuesday as well.
Elsewhere, Asian markets closed mostly higher with Japan down slightly losing 0.4 percent. Japan’s machinery orders dropped 9 percent from the previous month.