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Stocks finished the day in the black today after treading water for much of the day.  The S&P 500 closed higher by 0.25% as investors anticipate the beginning to Q3 earnings.   Results from Alcoa after hours are (drum roll please) better than expected and should set the tone for the next few weeks.  Expect to see a lot of this in the near future.  Daily Futures sums up the action from all markets:

U.S. Economy
The U.S. Treasury sold $20 billion of 10-year T-notes at a yield of 3.21%, a little lower than expected. After a three-day pause, the December U.S. T-bonds closed up 27/32nds at 122.28/32nds.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said that its index of mortgage applications was up 16% last week to the highest level in four months. The 30-year fixed rate was 4.89%, the third week below 5%. January lumber fell $5.10 to a new contract low of $183.90.

The Association of the German Confectionary Industry said that the cocoa grind in Germany was up 11% in the third quarter. Grind figures for Europe are expected out soon, possibly this week. December cocoa closed up $31 at $3,242.

March sugar fell .88 to 23.12, the lowest close in a week, hit by altitude sickness after trading at its highest prices since 1981. World supplies remain tight.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said that crude oil supplies were down 1 million barrels last week to 337.4 million barrels. Supplies of gasoline were up 2.9 million barrels and heating oil supplies were up 400,000 barrels. December crude oil closed down $1.26 at $69.88.

The DOE also said that refinery use increased from 84.6% to 85.0% last week. Over the past four weeks, gasoline demand was up 6.2% from a year ago while distillate demand was down 9.5% from a year ago. December reformulated gasoline dropped 4.74 cents to $1.7333.

After closing at a new record high yesterday, December gold added another $4.70 today and settled at $1,044.40.

Eurostat said that real GDP in the EU-27 was down .3% in the second quarter and down 4.9% from a year ago, down from its estimate of a 4.8% annual decline a month ago. The December euro closed down .0041 at $1.4668.

Source: Daily Futures