1:40pm (EST)

Futures were up a half-percent before the European markets opened but were flat ahead of this morning’s key economic data here at home.  Jobless Claims were better-than-expected for the second-straight week as Initial Claims fell to 361,000 versus expectations for a print of 370,000 claims.  Continuing Claims came in at 3.33 million a forecast of 3.27 million.  Meanwhile, the Trade Balance numbers came in at a deficit of $42.9 billion versus expectations for a deficit of $47.5 billion.

The market opened flat but the bulls managed to run a little higher while Europe’s stock markets stayed open but once they closed the bears got into the mix.  There was a push to the downside that lasted until lunch but as we head into the second half of trading, the major indexes are mixed.

As far as earnings, DeVry (DV, $19.90, up $0.22), Nordstrom (JWN, $55.25, down $0.20) and Spreadtrum (SPRD, $19.33, up $0.22) will report numbers after the close while J. C. Penney (JCP, $21.84, up $0.44) will confess to Wall Street in the morning. 

We have 10 possible new trades on our Watch List but the stocks we are following haven’t hit our targets to buy call or put options just yet.  We did find one trade we liked and it was for our Weekly Wrap but we continue to be patient as we wait for the marketto come to us. 

Although the action continues to be choppy, the market is getting close to a major move.  This week looks to be a wash and is favoring the bulls but next week could be volatile as August options expire.  There will also be some major economic reports due out so we will have to wait-and-see but we are close to opening new positions for the Daily so stay focused.

As we head to press, the Dow is down 14 points to 13,161 while the S&P is up a tenth of a point to 1,402.  The Nasdaq is higher by 4 points to 3,015. 

We have updated the trades we do have open so let’s go see where they are at.  Subscribers, check the Members Area for the updates and we will be back in the morning with our next issue.