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MARKET WRAP – STOCKS RALLY

Stocks recouped their Friday losses as the S&P 500 rallied 1% after a number of analyst upgrades, merger action and earnings from Citi that didn’t disappoint.   The market rallied in the face of a rallying dollar.  The VIX sank back to its lows and continues to show a very high level of investor complacency.  Unfortunately for the bears they just can’t escape the very low earnings expectations that have forced analysts to boost their estimates and upgrade names.  Daily Futures wraps up all the action on the day:

U.S. Economy
The National Association of Home Builders’ sentiment index fell from 16 to 15 in January, weaker than expected. March lumber ended up .80 at $253.80.

Citigroup posted a loss of $7.6 billion in the fourth quarter.

Grains and Cotton
The USDA said that 100,000 tons of U.S. soybeans were sold to China. Also, 116,000 tons of U.S. corn were sold to unknown destinations. March soybeans closed down 10.5 cents at $9.635.

The USDA said that last week’s export inspections of:
Corn totaled 30.3 million bushels, up 10% from a year ago.
Soybeans totaled 44.6 million bushels, up 18% from a year ago.
Wheat totaled 9.4 million bushels, up 23% from a year ago.
March wheat finished down 9.5 cents at $5.005.

March cotton was down .44 at 71.64, the lowest close in nine weeks, pressured by today’s stronger U.S. dollar.

Livestock
Pork demand continues to be impressive. April hogs closed up .75 at 74.02, the highest close in over a year.

Orange juice
The ten-day forecast for central Florida continues to look safely warm. March orange juice closed up 1.60 cents at $1.3335.

Sugar
March sugar jumped up 1.36 cents to a new contract high of 28.98 with ongoing tight supplies and concerns that El Nino may reduce this year’s sugar harvest in the Phillippines.

Energies
In its Market Report for January, OPEC increased its estimate of world economic growth in 2010 from 2.9% to 3.1%. OPEC also increased its estimate of 2010 world oil demand slightly, from 85.1 to 85.15 million barrels per day. March crude oil closed up .95 at $79.32.

Currencies
Statistics Canada said that its composite index of leading indicators was up 1.5% in December, its seventh consecutive increase and the biggest monthly gain since February of 1983. Also, the Bank of Canada met and kept the interest rate unchanged at .25%, as expected. The March Canadian dollar ended down .09 at 96.97.

The U.K.’s Office for National Statistics said that consumer prices were up 2.9% in December from a year ago, more than expected. The March British pound closed up 1.02 cents at $1.6355.

Eurostat said that construction output in the EU-27 was down .6% in November and down 6.7% from a year ago.

Japan’s Cabinet Office said that its index of consumer confidence fell from 39.5 to 37.6 in December, the lowest in six months.

The People’s Bank of China sold one-year bills at a rate of 1.926%, the highest in over a year.

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