It seems like nothing can shake Wall Street's foul mood this
week, with futures on all three major market indexes pointed south
this morning. A number of factors will be weighing on traders'
minds today, including:
- weekly jobless claims, which could give some indication on
employment ahead of tomorrow's
nonfarm payrolls report
- disappointing economic news from
across the pond
- the 13,000 mark, which will likely be tested by the
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)
in the final session of an abbreviated week.
Bed Bath & Beyond's (BBBY )
earnings pleased the Street, while fellow home furnishing retailer
Pier 1 Imports, Inc. (PIR - 18.26)
unveiled its newest growth plan.
And now, on to the numbers...
Currencies and Commodities
- The greenback is heading into the session with some
positive momentum, with the
U.S. dollar index
up 0.3% at $80.01.
, meanwhile, is
on the rebound
, with the front-month contract 0.4% higher at $101.84 per
are on the mend, as well, with the malleable metal last seen
0.6% north of breakeven at $1,623.80 an ounce.
Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY - 66.23)
reported a fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $351 million, or $1.48,
up 24% from $283.5 million, or $1.12 per share, in the year-ago
period. Meanwhile, revenue rose by 9.1% to $2.73 billion, boosted
by a 6.8% increase in same-store sales. The results topped
analysts' expectations for earnings of $1.33 per share on sales of
$2.66 billion. Looking ahead, the company is forecasting a
first-quarter profit of 79 cents to 83 cents per share, falling
roughly in line with Wall Street's prediction for earnings of 82
cents per share. BBBY is set to pop 5.7% right out of the gate.
Pier 1 Imports, Inc. (PIR - 18.26)
saw its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings grow to $115.2 million, or
$1.04 per share, from last year's profit of $57.1 million, or 48
cents per share. Excluding items, earnings arrived at 48 cents per
share. Thanks to a 10% jump in same-store sales, overall revenue
rose 12% to $476.8 million. The results were mixed, with Wall
Street calling for adjusted earnings of 48 cents per share on
$472.1 million in sales. In addition to declaring a quarterly cash
dividend of 4 cents per share, the home goods retailer announced a
three-year growth plan, with online sales in focus. For fiscal
2013, PIR projects a per-share profit of $1.06 to $1.12, compared
to analysts' forecast for full-year earnings of $1.12 per share.
PIR is up 1% in pre-market trading.
Earnings and Economic Data
are due out bright and early this morning. The market is closed
tomorrow in observance of Good Friday, so traders won't have a
chance to react to the Labor Department's
report until Monday. On the earnings front, we'll hear from AZZ (
, Constellation Brands (
), Schnitzer Steel Industries (
), SemiLEDs (
), and WD-40 (WDFC). Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
Asian markets ended mixed today, as Hong Kong-listed stocks took
a dive after Wednesday's holiday break. With a four-day weekend on
the horizon, traders seemed unwilling to leave too much cash on the
table ahead of Friday's U.S. jobs data. However, the mood was more
upbeat on the mainland, after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao railed
against the "monopoly" formed by "a large number of small banks,"
which he views as a roadblock to optimum liquidity in the credit
markets. By the close, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell roughly 1%,
Japan's Nikkei lost 0.5%, South Korea's Kospi edged up 0.5%, and
China's Shanghai Composite gained 1.7%.
European equities are in the red at midday, as Wednesday's
poorly received Spanish debt auction continues to weigh heavily on
investor sentiment. In light of these revived debt concerns, yields
on Italy's 10-year notes have climbed in sympathy with their
Spanish counterparts. Cementing the gloomy mood is a disappointing
report on British manufacturing production, which unexpectedly
dropped 1% in February. At last check, London's FTSE 100 has lost
0.4%, the French CAC 40 is off 0.6%, and the German DAX is down
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange
(CBOE) saw 1,063,443 call contracts traded on Wednesday, compared
to 716,652 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call
ratio arrived at 0.67, while the 21-day moving average was
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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