RTTNews - Following a late day rally to close out the previous week, stocks are poised to open Monday's session notably higher as traders are digesting encouraging data on personal income and spending. The major index futures are all in positive territory, with the Dow futures currently up by 110 points.
The Commerce Department recently released a report showing that personal income unexpectedly increased in the month of April, with the increase partly due to the reduced taxes and increased social benefit payments associated with the government's economic stimulus plan.
The report showed that personal income increased by 0.5 percent in April following a revised 0.2 percent decrease in March. The increase surprised economists, who had expected income to fall by 0.2 percent compared to the 0.3 percent decrease originally reported for the previous month.
At the same time, the Commerce Department said that personal spending edged down 0.1 percent in April after falling by a revised 0.3 percent in the previous month. Economists had expected the drop in personal spending to match the 0.2 percent decrease originally reported for March.
Later this morning, traders will look to the Institute of Supply Management's manufacturing index for May, which is expected to inch higher from April's reading. Also on tap for this morning are construction spending figures from the Commerce Department, with spending expected to drift lower for the month of April. The reports are set to be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
On the corporate front, auto giant General Motors (GM) officially filed for bankruptcy this morning. The Obama administration said Sunday that it has deemed GM's reorganization plan viable and will provide the company $30.1 billion in what is called debtor-in-possession financing - money the company can use while it moves through the bankruptcy process.
GM is expected to be removed from the Dow, perhaps opening the door for Ford (F) to take its place. Goldman Sachs (GS) and Apple (AAPL) are among the other companies reportedly being considered to replace GM.
Traders are also digesting comments from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who is visiting China, looking to build economic cooperation with Eastern giant.
Geithner stressed the importance of a shift toward increased savings in the United States and deleveraging while pointing to the significance of growth in consumer consumption in China.
Stocks showed a strong upward move over the course of the trading day on Friday, with the major averages surging higher in the last 30 minutes of trading, closing near their best levels of the day. The Dow closed up 97 points at 8,500, the Nasdaq closed up 23 points at 1,774, and the S&P 500 finished up 12 points at 919.
The gains helped the major averages close higher for both the week and the month of May. The Dow rose 4.1 percent for the month, adding to the gains posted in both March and April. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 posted monthly gains of 3.3 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively.
In early commodities trading, crude oil futures are on the rise, climbing by $1.48 to $67.79 a barrel, while gold futures are also on the rise, moving up by $5.80 to $984.60 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is plunging against the major European currencies, dropping to $1.4215 against the euro, a fresh five-month low, and slipping to $1.6388 against the pound, nearly an eight-month low. The dollar is also declining against the yen, falling to 94.93, giving back some of its recent gains.
Stocks markets across the Asia-Pacific region soared on Monday. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index rose by 1.6 percent, while China's Hang Seng climbed 3.4 percent.
The major European markets are also posting notable gains. The French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are up by 2.1 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is also on the rise, climbing by 1.5 percent.
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