Futures Higher Ahead of Durable Goods, Consumer Confidence


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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is on pace to tackle the 13,000 mark in today's session, after pulling back from the psychologically significant level in the final hour of Monday's trading. Sentiment was lifted after the lower house of Germany's parliament approved a second tranche of aid for Greece, and a downturn in oil prices is also stoking a bullish mood. On the economic front, today's agenda features durable goods orders, as well as the Conference Board's consumer confidence index. With yesterday's pending home sales providing a promising start to a week's worth of data, futures on all three major market indexes are pointed well north of breakeven.

Dow, S&P and Nasdaq futures

In earnings news, Priceline.com (PCLN - 591.54) banked a fourth-quarter profit of $225.7 million, or $4.41 per share, marking a 66% improvement from last year's earnings of $135.7 million, or $2.66 per share. Excluding items, the online travel site earned $5.37 per share, as revenue ramped up 35% to $990.8 million. The results came as a pleasant surprise, with Wall Street anticipating earnings of just $5.05 per share on $967.9 million in revenue. For the current quarter, PCLN is expecting to earn $3.80 to $3.90 per share on revenue growth of 22% to 27%. Analysts, meanwhile, are looking for first-quarter earnings of $3.72 per share on 25% revenue growth. PCLN is trading 7.3% higher ahead of the bell.

Elsewhere, Zagg Inc. (ZAGG - 10.06) reported a fourth-quarter profit of $9.9 million, or 32 cents per share, up from $3.4 million, or 13 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Excluding items, earnings came in at 27 cents per share, while revenue rose by 131% to $67.5 million. These record results surpassed analysts' expectations for a profit of 20 cents per share on sales of $64 million. Looking ahead, the company is forecasting its fiscal 2012 revenue to exceed $250 million, while Wall Street is predicting $240.7 million in sales. ZAGG is set to tack on 8.5% right out of the gate.

Finally, AutoZone, Inc. (AZO - 366.09) this morning reported a fiscal second-quarter profit of $166.9 million, or $4.15 per share, a 13% improvement over last year's profit of $148.1 million, or $3.34 per share. Overall revenue rose 8.6% to $1.8 billion, thanks to a 5.9% jump in domestic same-store sales. Both figures beat analysts' expectations for earnings of $4.04 per share on $1.78 billion in sales. During the quarter, AZO repurchased approximately 501,000 shares worth $173 million under its current stock buyback program. AZO is up 2% in pre-market trading.

Earnings Preview

Today's earnings docket will also feature reports from Cablevision Systems ( CVC ), Domino's Pizza ( DPZ ), DreamWorks Animation ( DWA ), FirstEnergy ( FE ), Kodiak Oil & Gas ( KOG ), Office Depot (ODP), Sanderson Farms (SAFM), STEC Inc. (STEC), Universal Display (PANL), and Vitamin Shoppe (VSI). Keep your browser at SchaeffersResearch.com for more news as it breaks.

Economic Calendar

Today's docket features durable goods data, the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index, and the Conference Board's latest consumer confidence reading. On Wednesday, the revised fourth-quarter GDP estimate will hit the Street, along with the Chicago purchasing managers index (PMI), the regularly scheduled crude inventories report, and the Fed's Beige Book. Thursday's round-up will include weekly jobless claims, personal income and spending data, the ISM manufacturing index, and construction spending. There are no major economic reports scheduled to be released on Friday.

Market Statistics

Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 1,153,945 call contracts traded on Monday, compared to 744,300 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio arrived at 0.65, while the 21-day moving average was 0.61.

NYSE and Nasdaq summary

Volatility indices

Overseas Trading

Asian markets ended higher today, as a pullback in oil prices relieved some anxiety for traders. Crude's retreat offered a lift for beaten-down airlines, including Cathay Pacific and All Nippon Airways. Retail stocks helped pace the rally in Japan, thanks to a report showing a 1.9% increase in sales last month. This outperformance offset some spotty weakness in tech issues, which was prompted by Elpida Memory's bankruptcy filing. By the close, Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 1.7%, Japan's Nikkei advanced 0.9%, South Korea's Kospi climbed 0.6%, and China's Shanghai Composite tacked on 0.2%.

The major European indexes are also pointed north, with traders feeling upbeat as the European Central Bank (ECB) prepares to launch another three-year long-term refinance operation (LTRO) on Wednesday. The bulls have also been encouraged by data showing that German consumer confidence improved for the sixth consecutive month. However, equities have pulled back from their session highs after Standard & Poor's lowered its long-term rating on Greece to "selective default," prompting the ECB to suspend the use of Greek sovereign debt as collateral in its lending operations. At last check, the German DAX and French CAC 40 are each 0.5% higher, while London's FTSE 100 has edged up 0.1%.

Overseas markets

Currencies and Commodities

The greenback is trading 0.3% lower this morning, with the U.S. dollar index last seen at $78.33. Oil futures continue to pull back from multi-month highs , with the front-month contract down 0.3% at $108.24 per barrel. Gold futures, meanwhile, are up 0.3% at $1,780.20 an ounce.

Currencies and commodities

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This article appears in: Investing Options
Referenced Stocks: CVC , DPZ , DWA , FE , KOG

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