Futures Mixed Ahead of the Bell, Apple in Focus

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Ahead of the bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) are on pace to pare some of last week's gains . Traders appear hesitant to make any major moves, with little in the way of economic and earnings reports on today's docket. Wall Street is keeping an anxious eye on Apple (APPL ), with rumors swirling about the results of a 9 a.m. conference call between CEO Tim Cook, Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer, and investors to discuss plans for its $100-billion stockpile of cash. Against this light-news backdrop, the DJIA is set to drop 18 points, while the SPX is looking at a more modest 2-point decline.

Dow, S&P and Nasdaq futures

In equities news, LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (LDK - 4.90) this morning said it now expects fourth-quarter revenue to arrive between $440 million and $450 million, down from its previous estimate for $440 million to $520 million in sales. By comparison, analysts are projecting $431.8 million in revenue. The downward revision comes amid lower estimates for wafer shipments, with the chip maker forecasting quarterly shipments of 215 megawatts ( MW ) to 220 MW. LDK is scheduled to release its full fourth-quarter earnings report on Thursday, April 12. LDK is up 0.4% in pre-market trading.

In earnings news, InterOil Corporation (IOC - 58.55) swung to a fourth-quarter profit of $13.2 million, or 27 cents per share, from last year's loss of $34.8 million, or 76 cents per share. Thanks to improving sales from both IOC's midstream and downstream refining divisions, overall revenue jumped 49% to $289.6 million. Analysts, meanwhile, were calling for a profit of 2 cents per share on $817 million in sales.

Earnings Preview

Today's earnings docket will also feature reports from Adobe Systems ( ADBE ), China Mass Media ( CMM ), and Focus Media ( FMCN ). Keep your browser at SchaeffersResearch.com for more news as it breaks.

Economic Calendar

A flurry of housing data hits the Street this week. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) housing market index kicks things off today, followed by Tuesday's report on housing starts and building permits. Wednesday's docket features the Mortgage Bankers Association ( MBA ) mortgage index and existing home sales, in addition to the weekly update on crude inventories. On Thursday, we'll see the latest data on initial and continuing jobless claims, the Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) home price index. A week chock-full of economic data wraps up on Friday with new home sales.

Market Statistics

Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 2,008,313 call contracts traded on Friday, compared to 939,3638 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio arrived at 0.47, while the 21-day moving average was 0.63.

NYSE and Nasdaq summary

Volatility indices

Overseas Trading

It was a mixed session in Asia today, as traders kept a wary eye on lackluster Chinese data. A weekend report showed home prices sliding in January, which applied pressure to property stocks. However, strength in resource issues helped push Shanghai to a positive finish. Elsewhere, Japanese banks rallied after a positive note from Moody's, with the ratings agency giving a thumbs-up to the central bank's dollar funding plans. By the close, South Korea's Kospi climbed 0.6%, China's Shanghai Composite tacked on 0.2%, Japan's Nikkei edged up 0.1%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost nearly 1%.

Meanwhile, European equities are lingering south of breakeven. Banks are among the notable laggards, as traders pull some profits off the table following recent gains. Automakers have also taken a turn south, with BMW leading the way after Goldman Sachs booted the stock from its "conviction buy" roster. At last look, the French CAC 40 is down 0.7%, the German DAX is 0.6% lower, and London's FTSE 100 has shed 0.4%.

Overseas markets

Currencies and Commodities

The U.S. dollar is trading near breakeven this morning, with the greenback last seen at $79.77. Crude oil has retreated , with the front-month contract down 0.3% at $107.23 per barrel. Gold futures are pointed south, as well, with the malleable metal 0.1% lower at $1,654.40 per barrel.

Currencies and commodities

Unusual Put and Call Activity:

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Unusual options activity - puts

Unusual options activity - calls

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This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: ADBE , CMM , FMCN , MBA , MW

Schaeffer's Investment Research

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