Stock Futures Strong on Italian Debt Auction. Stocks to Watch: AAPL, CSIQ, GOLD, ARMH, SNY, BAC

US futures were following news out of Europe this morning with Dow futures adding 23 points to 12,242. Nasdaq futures are also climbing, up 5.75 to 2,290. The S&P is rounding out the pre-market gains, up a modest 2.50 to 1,262.75.

All eyes are fixated on Europe this morning after short-term borrowing costs fell sharply in Italy. Their 6-month bond auction was deemed a success with yields dropping substantially. The two-year auction also saw strong interest. This could be a sign of the sovereign debt crisis easing in the EU, or it could be an outlier in what could be a another difficult year in 2012.

Economic data points from yesterday are helping to underpin equity movements. Consumer confidence numbers blew past expectations and buoyed hopes that the US would avoid a double dip recession in 2012.

Today’s data release schedule is sparse as investors gear up for the deluge of data set for release on Thursday. Jobless claim numbers, November housing and purchasing index out of Chicago are all slated for a Thursday AM release. Maximize Your Trades With Profitly

Asian markets were mostly lower overnight, though China did rebound off a 33-month low set in the previous trading session. There is increasing concern that the country is heading for a hard landing due to their cutbacks in infrastructure spending and overheating housing markets.

Europe is having a green day with the banking-heavy Stoxx 600 up half a percent. The FTSE MIB Italy Index is leading the charge among major indices, up half a percent in trading. Banking stocks are starting to recover in that index thanks to the successful bond auction.

While this is solid news for the markets at large, it has to be noted that this week has been held captive by extremely thin volume. The holidays are still in full-swing after Christmas as people gear up for New Years. A couple green days during a week like this does no mean a trend. Traders and Investors alike should watch for next week when everyone returns from vacation. Maximize Your Trades With Profitly

Stocks to watch today include Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:CSIQ), Randgold Resources Ltd. (NASDAQ:GOLD), ARM Holdings (NASDAQ:ARMH), Sanofli (NYSE:SNY) and Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC)

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is up 0.24% in pre market trading at $407.50. AAPL trades 16.6 million shares a day on average. AAPL has been trending up the latter half of December and has jumped from $380 to over $405. The company has a market cap of 377.83 billion.

Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:CSIQ) is up 8.15% this morning at $2.92. CSIQ trades 874 thousand shares a day on average. CSIQ may be looking to bounce today after falling more than $0.30 in the past two trading days. The company has a market cap of 117.33 million.

Randgold Resources Ltd. (NASDAQ:GOLD) is up 1.43% in pre market trading at $103.84. GOLD trades 656 thousand shares a day on average. GOLD stock took a 2% hit yesterday. The company has a market cap of 9.37 billion. Maximize Your Trades With Profitly

ARM Holdings (NASDAQ:ARMH) is up 2.47% in pre market trading at $27.78. ARMH trades 3.16 million shares a day on average. ARMH stock is up more than $1 a share over the past two weeks. The company has a market cap of 12.20 billion.

Sanofi SA (NYSE:SNY) is up 1.25% in pre market trading at $36.59. SNY trades on average 3.5 million shares a day. SNY has been trending slightly higher for the latter half of December and has moved up about $2 a share. The company has a market cap of 97.01 billion.

Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) is up 0.64% in pre market trading at $5.52. BAC has traded 446 thousand shares already this morning and averages 263.03 million shares a day. BAC stock has been trending upward ever since it dipped below $5 on Dec. 19. The company has a market cap of 55.54 billion.

Sony’s Newest Handheld Hits Japan Stores

Sony’s newest portable game system, Playstation Vita, hit Japan stores on Saturday. Thousands of people were lined up early to be the first to get their hands on it. Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNY) is predicting good sales despite the Vita releasing deep into the holiday season. A successful launch of the Vita would help Sony offset its struggling business. The company is set to lose more than $1 billion for the fiscal year through March 2012 and would be its fourth straight annual loss.

The Vita, successor to the Playstation Portable, has a touch-interface and motion sensitive capabilities. The games on the device sport great graphics as well with power house Sony titles like Uncharted and Resistance available at launch. There are more than two dozen games available at launch for the PS Vita, the most in Playstation history.

“I’m so happy to see so many people lining up for PS Vita so early in the morning,” Sony Computer Entertainment Japan President Hiroshi Kono wrote in his official blog after touring several Tokyo stores. “I can tell they had anxiously waited for today’s launch.”

This is Sony’s biggest product launch since launching the PS3 five years ago. The Vita will have stiff competition from Nintendo’s 3DS and Apple as gaming has really started to pick up on the iPad and iPhone.

Shares of Sony Corporation closed Friday at up 0.70% at $17.31.

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