According to the leading index, a compendium of economic indicators, the economic infrastructure of the world’s largest economy looks to pickup in the next three to six months, dollar bullish.  The print was the fourth consecutive monthly rise in the indicator and the largest in seven months according to the Conference Board.  Separately adding to dollar sentiment was mounting speculation on today’s release of the Federal Reserve meeting minutes.  Although not expected to influence the market greatly, traders will nonetheless be searching for clues as to the timeliness and rate at which the current tightening cycle will continue.  Currently trading at 1.3079, the price action is slightly higher than the 1.3074 close late yesterday in New York.

Stock markets remained mixed ahead of the minutes release as investors were concerned over the prospects of higher interest rates and corporate profitability while being strengthened by a better than expected leading indicators report.  As a result, the benchmark Dow Jones industrial average was lower by 34.58 points at 11,080.74 with the broader S&P 500 index slipping 2.2 points to 1,285.03.  Notably weighing on the downside for the session was an announcement by Wal-Mart stores.  The company’s shares slipped 11 cents to $45.99 after it reported fourth quarter revenue that fell short of analysts’ estimates.  However, it did note that earnings rose 13.4 percent on increased advertising estimates.

Benchmark bonds were slightly lower ahead of the release as markets remained closed yesterday in observance of the Presidents’ holiday.  The 10-year note yield rose 1 basis point to 4.55 percent while the face value dipped to 99 19/32.