I like watching the money.cnn.com premarket trading screen in the morning just to get an idea of what the world is doing. Generally the markets open in Asia then proceed around the world in a West to East direction and by the time we open on the East coast the rest of the world is either closed or mostly through their day. I find that the Japanese generally follow the US market - in other words what we see in the Nikkei 225 is what we saw in the SPX the day before. I also believe that we follow the Europe lead more than we care to say in that more often than not if the FTSE 100 (London Bourse) is green we will have a green day too.
This morning OPEC is getting together to discuss oil production cuts - like that is going to happen - the only thing these guys can ever agree to do and succeed at is to disagree. If they do set quotas it is with the understanding that a lot of cheating will go on and absolutely no quota will ever be honored. I say that because you only ever hear of them getting together to cut production, never to increase it, yet it always increases.
Anyway that is the warning signal of the day but it doesn't seem to be affecting either the Asians or the European markets which are all in the green and strong and the futures which were in the red when I first looked at Oh-dark-thirty are now also green. Maybe the rest of the world has figured out what I figured out - OPEC production cut talks are full of something dark, stinky, and gooey and not oil.
The other thing I like to watch is the pre-market at the NASDAQ site. I don't trade pre-market - too much work - but I do like to watch it and I also like to check stocks that are on my hot list to see if they are catching a bid in the early morning light. Generally if they are I will then watch them more closely during the opening to see if I'm going to put on a trade or not. Some of the stocks I always look for are AMR, YHOO, and INTC. These are always good for a half a buck or better if there is some early interest.