After backpedaling 1.1% last week, futures on the Dow Jones
Industrial Average (DJIA) are pointed higher this morning. Wall
Street is awaiting word from Big Ben Bernanke, with the Federal
Reserve Chairman scheduled to deliver an early morning speech at
the National Association for Business Economists 2012 Policy
Conference ahead of the bell. The day's economic docket also
features pending home sales, following with last week's mob of
housing reports. However, promising data out of Germany that showed
a better-than-expected rise in business confidence has sparked a
bullish spirit. Against this backdrop, all three major market
indexes are set to tack on gains.
Citing higher production costs, Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. (CALM -
41.95) reported a fiscal third-quarter profit of $26.1 million, or
$1.09 per share, a 22% year-over-year drop from $33.6 million, or
$1.40 per share. Sales for the egg producer edged up 11% to arrive
at $303.7 million. The bottom-line results bested analysts'
expectations for a per-share profit of $1.02. Shares of CALM are
off 1.8% in pre-market trading.
Today's earnings docket will also feature reports from Apollo
) and Landec (
). Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
The pending home sales index kicks things off today, while
Tuesday features the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index, as well
as the Conference Board's latest consumer confidence report. On
Wednesday, durable goods data and the regularly scheduled crude
inventories report will hit the Street. Thursday's round-up will
include weekly jobless claims and the final report on
fourth-quarter GDP. The week wraps up on Friday with personal
income and spending data, the Chicago purchasing managers index
(PMI), and the final March reading of the Thomson
Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index.
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (
) saw 954,906 call contracts traded on Friday, compared to 589,943
put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio arrived
at 0.62, while the 21-day moving average was 0.62.
Stocks in Asia ended mixed today, as traders seemed unwilling to
buy equities in the absence of a major positive catalyst. A poorly
received earnings report from China Construction Bank prompted
weakness in financials, after the company warned of a difficult
operating environment for the fiscal year ahead. Meanwhile, trading
in energy stocks was somewhat hectic. Sinopec gained ground in Hong
Kong following its quarterly earnings release, but oil refiners
were among the top laggards in Seoul amid lingering macroeconomic
uncertainty. By the close, Japan's Nikkei added 0.07%, China's
Shanghai Composite rose 0.05%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng inched
fractionally higher, and South Korea's Kospi shed 0.4%.
The major European benchmarks are barely north of breakeven at
midday, with the results of a weekend election in Spain sparking
unrest. The People's Party was unable to win a majority vote in
Andalucia, which could create snags as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy
attempts to push through unpopular austerity measures. However,
economic data out of Berlin has garnered a warm reception, as the
Ifo business sentiment index improved to a stronger-than-forecast
109.8 in March. At last look, the French CAC 40 is up 0.04%,
London's FTSE 100 has advanced 0.5%, and the German DAX has tacked
Currencies and Commodities
The U.S. dollar is on the
this morning, with the greenback up 0.2% at $79.48. Conversely,
crude oil is pointed south, with the front-month contract down 0.3%
at $106.60 per barrel. Elsewhere, gold futures are 0.1% lower at
$1,661 an ounce.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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