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Minyanville's Before The Bell: Asian Sea of Green, Futures Pointing Up


Stocks around the world are up. Asia is in a sea of green and Europe is higher because of Germany. It should be a good opening.

Stock futures are up this morning as Asian markets close in a sea of green. As of 7:10 AM EST, S&P Futures are trading up +5.10 points to 1541, and Nasdaq futures are up by 10.8 points to 2120.

Asian stocks closed higher this morning. Japan's Nikkei 225 closed up +2.4% as news of small business confidence came in greater than expected. Japan's September small business confidence came in at 49.1 versus a 47.4 consensus estimate. Taiwan's TAIEX was also helped by economic data. Taiwan's leading indicators, a measure used to gauge the direction of the economy, rose +0.4% in August versus a July figure of +0.2%. The TAIEX finished with a +1.69% gain.

In other parts, Hong Kong's Hang Seng continued to hit new highs this time reaching past the 27,000 point level. The index ended with a +2.4% gain. India's SENSEX and China's Shanghai Composite both finished up +1.3%.

Markets in Europe are benefiting from the overall sentiment. The CAC is up by +0.55%, the DAX is up by +0.64%, and the FTSE is up by +0.66%.

Topping headlines in Europe, the European Central Bank (ECB) loaned €3.9 bln ($5.5 bln) at a lending rate of 5%, the most since October of 2004. (From FT) The surge in demand signaled that the difficulties that European lenders faced this summer is still not over. ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet also stated that it was too early to judge the impact of recent turmoil on GDP, but will perform the necessary actions to contain inflation at the 2% target. (From BTIG)

Meanwhile, nationwide housing prices in the UK increased much stronger than expected coming in at 0.7% vs. 0.3% consensus. The result is an annual rate of 9% vs. forecasts of 8.7%. (From BTIG)

Also, Germany's unemployment rate fell in September to the lowest in 14 years. Unemployment in Europe's largest economy came in at 8.8% versus 8.9% consensus. (From Bloomberg)

Here in the U.S, another deal is in jeopardy, this time the $25 bln buyout of student lender SLM Corp (SLM). The leader of the buyer's group J.C. Flowers & Co announced it was no longer willing to pay $60 a share citing that a material adverse effect has occurred. (From Bloomberg)

Bear Stearns (BSC) is bidding lower this morning. The company sparked a rally late in the trading day yesterday sending the stock surging over 11%. Toddo warned Buzz readers yesterday, "…the last time we heard this chatter, it was in Hovnanian (HOV). And after the initial, euphoric spike, we all know what happened to the homies." Read the rest of his thoughts in yesterday's The Bear Stare. In addition, get more insight into his Goldman Sachs (GS) trade with What's The Buzz About?

Microsoft (MSFT) is also making headlines this morning. The company stated its highly-anticipated game Halo 3 generated an estimated $170 mln in sales in its first day of release. (From WSJ) This will surely be another positive on Professor Macke's list as he stated Microsoft was making all the right moves. Read more of his thoughts in Bringin' It Home.

For more stock-specific news, please check out our Buzz Bits.

Although futures are up this morning, all could change with this morning's release of economic data. See below for the list of events for today and click here for the full trading radar.


8:30 Chain Deflator-Final: 2.7% cons
8:30 Initial Claims: 311 k previous
10:00 Help-Wanted Index: 24 cons
10:00 New Home Sales: 830 k cons

Alright, Minyans. Hope Y'all are having a great morning. Keep checking back with us for continuously-updated information you need to know. Good luck and good trading!
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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