After an entirely ho-hum day for the Dow yesterday, investors may be hoping for some more movement today. Thursday the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) closed essentially flat, ending 0.05% higher for the day.
The Nasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC ) fared better, climbing 0.4% by market close. The variance was no doubt buoyed by such monster performances as Akamai's (Nasdaq: AKAM ) 10% surge after impressive earnings. The Internet-traffic shepherd topped expectations on revenue and earnings for the quarter. The company continued to benefit from the move towards the cloud as their enterprise vertical grew and impressive 23%.
The news today
But without any major earnings on the radar, and no real blowouts expected, investors will have to look to The International Trade report for most of their excitement today. The report is being made available by The Bureau of Economic Analysis at 8:30 am. The report is important because it gives a gauge on the overall trade balance for the U.S. A rise in imports is regarded as a positive indicator of strengthening domestic demand. By contrast, a rise in exports is usually read as a strengthening of international economies, or an improving competitive position domestically.
While some may worry that the strengthening dollar will depress exports, with Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) leading the charge to the U.S.'s record $180.4 billion exports in September and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) sure to break even more records with their international iPhone sales, particularly in China, I believe the export picture will be rosy.
Total U.S. exports have been the main driver behind the U.S.'s growth since June 2009, the official end of the recession. Caterpillar recently bulldozed earnings estimates, largely fueled by their mining-equipment demand, but also made it clear that they're eyeing international markets for future earnings-stomping-sales. With many expecting that iPhone 4s sales in China will push Apple past their already ridiculously profitable most-recent quarter into even more record-breaking territory, I'd say the export story looks robust
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