U.S. stock futures are flat this morning, shrugging off
euro-zone ratings cuts from Moody's, and conversely, positive
investor sentiment data out of Germany. It seems investors have
brought their focus back to the domestic front ahead of January's
retail sales report, slated for release at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.
Economists are expecting a 0.9% rise. Furthermore, anticipation
precedes the windfall of earnings that begins to hit the Street
today. However, the major market indexes are set to
continue yesterday's advance
, with all three last seen hovering just above breakeven.
In earnings news, Rackspace Hosting, Inc. (RAX - 49.23) banked a
fourth-quarter profit of $25 million, or 18 cents per share,
soaring 85% from last year's profit of $13.5 million, or 10 cents
per share. Thanks to a 23% bump in dedicated cloud revenue and an
86% rise in public cloud sales, overall revenue jumped 32% to
$283.3 million. The results easily bested analysts' expectations
for earnings of 15 cents per share on $281 million in sales. Ahead
of the bell, RAX is trading 8.9% higher.
Elsewhere, Seattle Genetics (SGEN - 18.96) said its
fourth-quarter loss narrowed to $27.2 million, or 24 cents per
share, from a loss of $34.5 million, or 34 cents per share, in the
year-ago period. Meanwhile, revenue rose by 504% to $48.9 million.
The results exceeded expectations, as analysts, on average, were
expecting a loss of 31 cents per share on sales of $39.1 million.
Looking ahead, the company is expecting 2012 revenue from
collaboration and license deals to range between $55 million and
$65 million, but said it's not providing guidance on expected
Adcetris sales at this time. SGEN is looking at a 6.7% drop right
out of the gate.
Finally, Avon Products (AVP - 17.53) swung to a fourth-quarter
loss of $400,000, or less than one penny per share, from its
year-ago profit of $229.5 million, or 53 cents per share. The
recently concluded quarter's results were impacted by a
$263-million goodwill charge related to the purchase of Silpada
Designs. On an adjusted basis, AVP earned 39 cents per share from
continuing operations, while revenue for the period declined 4.2%
to $3.04 billion. Analysts, on average, were expecting AVP to bank
a profit of 51 cents per share on $3.11 billion in revenue. In a
statement, Chairman and CEO Andrea Jung noted that "2012 is a year
of transition and we are not planning for margin recovery."
However, the cosmetics company maintained its annual dividend of 92
cents per share. In pre-market trading, AVP is off 5.8%.
Today's earnings docket will also feature reports from American
), BorgWarner (
), comScore (
), Fossil (
), Goodyear Tire & Rubber (
), Hospira (HSP), Host Hotels and Resorts (HST), LCA Vision (LCAV),
MetLife (MET), Michael Kors (KORS), Peet's Coffee & Tea (PEET),
United Therapeutics (UTHR), Weight Watchers International (WTW),
Zipcar (ZIP), and Zynga (ZNGA). Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
The economic calendar kicks off today with retail sales figures
and business inventories, along with the latest data on import and
export prices. The Empire State manufacturing index hits the Street
on Wednesday. Also on the day's docket are the NAHB's housing
market index, industrial production and capacity utilization,
weekly crude inventories, and the minutes from the latest meeting
of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). Thursday brings us
housing starts, the producer price index (PPI), the Philadelphia
Fed manufacturing index, and the weekly report on jobless claims.
The Fed also remains in focus, with Chairman Ben Bernanke slated to
speak at an FDIC conference. Finally, we wrap up on Friday with the
consumer price index (CPI) and the Conference Board's index of
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange
(CBOE) saw 1,363,211 call contracts traded on Monday, compared to
727,597 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio
arrived at 0.53, while the 21-day moving average was 0.60.
Stocks in Asia ended mixed today, as traders weighed some
conflicting developments on the macroeconomic front. Last night,
Moody's downgraded its credit ratings for a handful of European
nations, and issued warnings to several other countries. This
negative note kept many buyers on the sidelines, but some optimists
cheered the Bank of Japan's surprise decision to ramp up its asset
purchase plan. By the close, Japan's Nikkei rose 0.6%, Hong Kong's
Hang Seng added 0.2%, South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.2%, and China's
Shanghai Composite shed 0.3%.
Meanwhile, the major European benchmarks are mostly higher at
midday. Traders were initially rattled by that Moody's note, with
the ratings agency downgrading the likes of Spain, Italy, and
Portugal, and cautioning of potential cuts for France, the U.K.,
and Austria. However, Moody's also reiterated its triple-A
recommendations for Germany and the European Financial Stability
Facility (EFSF), which helped to soften the blow. Plus, bulls were
encouraged after the ZEW economic sentiment index unexpectedly
surged into positive territory for January. At last look, London's
FTSE 100 is 0.03% lower, the French CAC 40 is up 0.1%, and the
German DAX has tacked on 0.3%.
Currencies and Commodities
The greenback is slightly higher this morning, with the U.S.
dollar index up 0.2% at $79.07. Crude oil is set to
extend its stay above the century mark
, with the front-month contract trading 0.5% higher at $101.80 per
barrel. Gold futures, meanwhile, are continuing to trade lower, as
the malleable metal was last seen 0.2% lower at $1,722.00 an
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