With investors still believing a bailout package will be structured for Greece, global equity markets are trading higher while stock futures at home are pointing upwards but well off their early morning highs.

One hour ahead of the bell, Dow futures are up 2 points to 10,006 while futures on the S&P 500 are up 0.20 to 1,066 after being up 3.50 points just one hour ago.

Treasuries are marginally improved following heavy losses yesterday ― the benchmark 10-year note is at 3.62% moving up four basis points yesterday.

Commodities are mixed but generally higher. WTI Crude is up 1 cent to $73.76 per barrel, and  Gold is $1.20 higher to $1,078.

The dollar is receiving support ahead of the release of the text of testimony expected to be read by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's which could give new insight to the central bank’s exit strategy.

Key Events Today:

8:30 ― The Trade Balance is expected to improve in December with help from a steady stream of exports. Imports should also rise, in part due to rising oil prices, but most economists believe the advance won’t outpace exports. In November the deficit widened to $36.4 billion from a $33.2 billion, and in December the consensus expectation is to see a narrowing to $35.7 billion.

Economists from BMO added: “Trade is expected to support the recovery again in Q1, with GDP growth pegged at 3%.”

Not all economists agree, however. Ian Shepherdson from HFE expects import volumes to rise more than exports “as the sharp U.S. inventory correction pulls in both finished goods and raw materials from overseas.” He added, “Foreign trade was a plus for GDP growth in the fourth quarter, but will probably be a drag on growth in the first quarter.”

10:00 ― Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, is scheduled to deliver testimony before the House Financial Services Committee. The snowstorm may prevent him from doing so, but the speech will released on the Fed’s website.

12:45 ― Charles Plosser, president of the Philly Fed, speaks on lessons of the financial crisis to the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia.

2:00 ― Following a record December deficit of $92 billion, a majority of economists expect the Treasury’s Budget Statement to show a gap of $46.0 billion in January, with estimates ranging from $45 billion to $75 billion. So far, this fiscal year’s deficit is outpacing last year’s record.

“We expect the Treasury to record a budget deficit of $68bn for January,” predicted analysts from Nomura Global Economics. “Historically the government has run a surplus in January due to quarterly tax payments from individuals [but] weak receipts and the increase in transfer payments suggest a likely deficit for a second consecutive year. Outlays for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) were likely down from 2009 but non-TARP outlays should be boosted by various stimulus-related payments. Unemployment insurance benefits in particular remain a major drain on government coffers.”

Treasury Auctions:


  • 1:00 ― 10-Year Notes