U.S. stocks are set to end the week on a high note, with
) latest earnings report providing fodder for the bulls. Elsewhere,
investors continue to cheer
Slovakia's vote to bolster the euro-zone rescue
, which has fueled optimism ahead of a meeting of Group of 20
(G-20) leaders in Paris today, and has helped Wall Street overlook
Spain's credit-rating downgrade from Standard & Poor's. Against
this backdrop -- and ahead of data on retail sales and consumer
confidence -- the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is set to
erase yesterday's slide, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite
(COMP) is on pace to extend its winning streak.
In earnings news, Google (GOOG - 558.99) reported a
third-quarter profit of $2.73 billion, or $8.33 per share -- up 26%
from its year-ago earnings of $2.17 billion, or $6.72 per share.
Excluding items, per-share profit increased to $9.72 from $7.64
last year. Meanwhile, net revenue rose 37% to $7.51 billion.
Analysts had expected a profit of $8.74 per share on revenue of
$7.21 billion. Ahead of the bell, GOOG is set to soar more than
J.B. Hunt Transport Services (JBHT - 38.89) reported earnings
that were roughly in line with analyst expectations. Specifically,
JBHT's third-quarter profit increased 32% to $68.7 million, or 57
cents per share, while revenue jumped 19% to $1.17 billion.
Analysts had projected earnings of 56 cents per share on revenue of
$1.17 billion. "In addition to improving trends in our business
units, we were also able to repurchase approximately 4.0 million
shares of stock during the current quarter using our strong balance
sheet and cash flow generation," explained President and CEO John
N. Roberts. At last check, JBHT is pointed 6.3% higher.
Finally, Mattel (MAT - 27.78) said third-quarter net income rose
to $300.8 million, or 86 cents per share, compared to $283.3
million, or 77 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue, meanwhile,
rose 9% to $2 billion. The results fell in line with expectations,
with analysts calling for an adjusted per-share profit of 86 cents
on sales of $1.97 billion. In addition, Mattel said its board
authorized a $500-million increase to its stock buyback program. In
pre-market action, MAT is lingering just south of breakeven.
Today's earnings docket will also feature a report from Webster
Financial Corp. (
). Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
The week winds down with September retail sales data, the
Reuters/UMich consumer sentiment index, business inventories, and
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (
) saw 807,994 call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to
582,024 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio
arrived at 0.72, while the 21-day moving average was 0.71.
Stocks in Asia slipped today, bogged down by troubling Chinese
inflation data and more negative headlines for the embattled euro
zone. Inflation stats released today indicated that consumer prices
on the mainland rose 6.1% in September, suggesting that
policymakers have relatively little leeway to scale back their
tightening efforts. Meanwhile, Standard & Poor's slashed
Spain's credit rating late Thursday, rekindling concerns about the
country's fiscal viability. By the close, Hong Kong's Hang Seng
fell 1.4%, Japan's Nikkei lost 0.9%, China's Shanghai Composite
shed 0.3%, and South Korea's Kospi bucked the trend to add
Despite the aforementioned downgrade of Spain, European
benchmarks are trading higher at midday. Rather than dwelling on
debt woes, traders are cheering solid earnings news from corporate
giants such as Google, SAP AG, Syngenta, and Ericsson. These
well-received results have helped to offset losses in the financial
sector, with banking stocks taking a hit after Fitch downgraded
UBS, and placed a handful of other names -- including BNP Paribas,
and Societe Generale -- on review for potential downgrades. At last
look, the French CAC 40 is up 0.9%, while both London's FTSE 100
and the German DAX have gained 1.1%.
Currencies and Commodities
The greenback is trading fractionally higher this morning, with
the U.S. dollar index up 0.04% at last look. Elsewhere, crude
futures are on the rebound after two straight down days, with the
front-month contract last seen $1.15, or 1.4%, higher at $85.60 per
barrel. Finally, gold futures have also bounced back from
yesterday's retreat, with the malleable metal up $7, or 0.4%, at
$1,675.50 an ounce.
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