Stock Futures Flat As Europe Tempers Enthusiasm. Stocks to Watch: ARNA, BKS, AONE, AAPL, BAC, MSFT, XLS

Another day, another worry about Europe’s sovereign debt crisis. After yesterday’s global equity surge, investors are taking a step back to assess the ongoing debt crisis in Europe. The Dow futures are off 28 points to 12,310. S&P 500 futures are following the dow lower, off nearly 4 points. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq futures are bucking the slightly negative trend, up a modest quarter of a point.

European stocks were also modestly lower in intraday trading as investors took in two pieces of news that were a cause for concern. Spanish bond yields were edging higher after a report emerged that the Spanish PM was planning on asking for loans from the EU rescue fund. He is also reportedly seeking IMF help to restructure the country’s banking sector.

Though not an EU country, Hungary was also dealing with their economic woes as their currency hit a low against the Euro. Hungary has been going through a series of political changes that have been deemed undemocratic, including an announcement that its central bank would no longer be independent. This is on the heels of several decisions that have created a strong central party, while the opposition is on the verge of being outlawed.

In the United States the conversation this morning is decidedly political. Last night’s Iowa caucus was decided by a mere 8 votes, with Romney edging out Rick Santorum. Ron Paul finished a close third as the candidates prepare for the dash through the primary calendar, with New Hampshire coming up next. Investors should watch for the field to dwindle and where the lower tier candidates voters go.

Yesterday’s New Years rally was fueled by a slew of economic data reports that seemingly showed the country heading into a recovery. The manufacturing index showed its biggest climb in 6 months. Today’s calendar has new factory orders set to release at 10am EST. Also car makers will release December sales figures. Maybe the incessant Lexus holiday commercials will pay off.

Commodities are also in a wait and see mode with crude oil and gold prices taking a step back. Both are modestly lower to flat as traders soak in the fierce rallies yesterday. Silver enjoyed its biggest one-day jump in 6 years in intraday trading.

The Euro (EURUSD) was off nearly half a percent against the dollar, while the yen also lost its footing against the dollar, dropping .3%.

Stocks to watch this morning include Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARNA), Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE:BKS), A123 Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:AONE), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC), Microsoft Inc. (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Exelis Inc. (NYSE:XLS).

Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARNA) is up 2.08% in pre market trading at $1.96. ARNA closed yesterday up 2.67% at $1.02. Late yesterday, Arena Pharmaceuticals submitted response to FDA complete response letter for Lorcaserin. ARNA trades 2.28 million shares a day on average. The company has a market cap of 280.37 million.

Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS) closed yesterday down 2.49% at $14.12. BKS did go up in after hours though by 2.42% at $14.46. BKS trades 1.44 million shares a day on average. The company has a market cap of 849.67 million.

A123 Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:AONE) is up 2.04% in pre market trading at $2.00. AONE closed yesterday with gains of 21.74% at $1.96. The stock trades 2.34 million shares a day on average. Shares of AONE rose yesterday following news that most recalled plug in electronic sports cars using A123 battery packs have already been fixed. The company has a market cap of 247.11 million.

Apple Inc. (NYSE:AAPL) is down slightly in pre market trading at $410.77. AAPL closed yesterday up 1.54% at $411.23. AAPL has been trending upward since mid December and is up $30 a share in that time period. AAPL trades 11.70 million shares a day on average. The company has a market cap of 382.20 billion.

Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) is down 1.38% in pre market trading at $5.72. BAC closed yesterday up 4.32% at $5.80. BAC trades 251.46 million shares a day on average. Yesterday, BofA lost a ruling against MBIA in their fight over mortgage loans. The company has a market cap of 58.79 billion.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is up slightly in pre market trading at $26.79. On Tuesday, MSFT closed up 3.10% at $26.76. MSFT trades 49.37 million shares a day on average. The company has a market cap of 255.15 billion.

Exelis Inc. (NYSE:XLS) is up 1.93% in pre market trading at $9.49. XLS closed yesterday up 2.87% at $9.31. XLS trades 1.81 million shares a day on average. Yesterday, Exelis won a $121 million satellite communications contract. The company has a market cap of 1.72 billion.

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Danny is the old hat at Active Investor. One of the been around the block a few times traders, his main focus is on overall market conditions. Be it some new merger talk or Washington being Washington, you can expect Danny will be on top of it.
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