US Futures Modestly Higher after Mixed Italian Auction. Stocks to Watch: YHOO, RIMM, BAC, AAPL, LPL, PEIX

Stock Futures are clinging to the smallest of gains after a weak Italian bond auction. Currently Dow futures are up 29 points to 12,110. Nasdaq futures are tacking on nearly 6 points to 2,265, while S&P futures are adding 3.75 to 1,248.25.

The Italian bond auction overnight was decidedly a mixed bag. It was encouraging to see borrowing costs drop, but the tepid demand is worrying to analysts long-term. It shows that the stresses that plagued Italy in recent months are still there and need to be addressed if there is to long lasting stability in that market. Maximize Your Trades With Profitly

The economic data calendar is stacked today with jobless claims slated for 8:30am EST release. Last week’s claims came it at 364,000, a positive sign in the labor market. Expectations are for a rise to 374,000, but this will keep it under the 400,000 threshold most economists view as a stable job creation for the US.

In Europe the markets have handed back some of their gains after the mixed Italian auction. The banking heavy Stoxx 600 Europe has moved into a mostly flat trading range in late trading, up around .18% currently. The French CAC 40 is up .3%, while the German Dax is adding .4%.

Asia was mostly lower in overnight trading as investors continued to be concerned about the viability of the EU going into 2012. A report by the ECB that showed it had boosted lending to banks dramatically sent the EUR/USD to a 15 year low. This helped drive Asian markets lower as investors sit on the sideline.

Closing out the remainder of the market week volume is expected to continue to be thin. Traders should be mindful of this cause any swing can be abrupt and extreme in price action.

Stocks to watch today include Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM), Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), LG Display Co. (NYSE:LPL) and Pacific Ethanol Inc. (NASDAQ:PEIX)

Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) is up 1.46% in pre market trading at $16.01. YHOO trades 27 million shares a day on average. Alibaba Group has hired a US lobby firm, the latest sign the Chinese internet group is considering a bid for Yahoo. The company has a market cap of 19.57 billion.

Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) is up 1.05% in pre market trading at $14.40. RIMM trades 22.9 million shares a day on average. RIMM has been trending higher over the past week or so. The company has a market cap of 7.35 billion.

Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC) is up 0.85% in pre market trading at $5.33. BAC trades 261.31 million shares a day on average. BAC is looking to start the day higher alongside the overall market after falling more than 3% yesterday. The company has a market cap of 53.57 billion. Maximize Your Trades With Profitly

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is up 0.39% this morning at $404.20. AAPL trades 12.40 million shares a day on average. Apple has been in a steady uptrend since mid December. It did take a slightly hit yesterday though as the stock market finished lower. The company has a market cap of 374.22 billion.

LG Display Co. (NYSE:LPL) is up 4.8% in pre market trading at $10.48. LPL trades just shy of a million shares a day on average. LPL has been trading flat much of the month and has hovered very close to $10 a share in that time. The company has a market cap of 7.16 billion.

Pacific Ethanol Inc (NASDAQ:PEIX) is up 4.35% in pre market trading at $1.20. PEIX trades nearly 12 million shares a day on average. PEIX heated back up yesterday as day traders poured in to make some quick profits. The company has a market cap of 88.67 million.

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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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