The major market indexes are looking to chip away at their
weekly deficits today, with U.S. stocks pointed higher ahead of the
bell. In Europe, reports that the European Central Bank (ECB) is
buying the government debt of "periphery countries" have helped to
yields of euro-zone bonds
. Meanwhile, traders appear cautiously optimistic ahead of both a
meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.K. Prime
Minister David Cameron, and the new Greek government's delivery of
its 2012 austerity budget to parliament. On the home front, Wall
Street is awaiting the Conference Board's index of leading
indicators, and in the meantime is celebrating the latest batch of
earnings reports from notables like Aruba Networks (
) and Marvell Technology (
). Against this backdrop, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)
is aiming for a triple-digit rebound -- though the expiration of
November-dated options could make for an extra volatile
In earnings news, Aruba Networks, Inc. (ARUN - 21.79) reported a
fiscal first-quarter loss of $467,000, or breakeven on a per-share
basis, compared to a year-ago profit of $2.1 million, or 2 cents
per share. ARUN is attributing the loss to a higher-than-projected
28.9% tax rate. Excluding items, earnings arrived at 14 cents per
share, matching expectations. Net sales were on the rise, jumping
44% to $119.4 million. The top-line results exceeded the Street's
forecast, with analysts, on average, predicting revenue of $117.4
million. Meanwhile, ARUN also announced plans to acquire privately
held Avenda Systems for an undisclosed amount. The deal is expected
to close sometime in the fiscal second quarter. In pre-market
action, ARUN is headed for a 9.2% surge.
Marvell Technology Group
(MRVL - 13.76) reported a third-quarter profit of $195.1 million,
or 32 cents per share - down 24% from its year-ago profit of $255.7
million, or 38 cents per share. Excluding items, MRVL said
per-share earnings fell to 40 cents from 45 cents. Revenue,
meanwhile, dipped 0.9% to $950.4 million. The results exceeded
expectations, as analysts were calling for an adjusted profit of 39
cents per share on sales of $938.9 million. However, MRVL warned
that severe flooding in Thailand could weigh on demand for
hard-drive controllers in the current quarter, though the firm
expects the industry to rebound by the middle of next year. At last
check, MRVL is pointed 6% higher.
(GPS - 19.25) reported a third-quarter profit of $193 million, or
38 cents per share, down from $303 million, or 48 cents per share,
in the year-ago period. The company also reported that same-store
sales dropped by 5%, compared to a 1% increase in the same quarter
last year. Meanwhile, revenue fell by 2% to $3.59 billion.
Analysts, on average, were expecting a profit of 36 cents per share
on revenue of $3.61 billion. Looking ahead, the company reiterated
its fiscal 2011 earnings forecast of $1.40 to $1.50 per share,
representing a slightly more cautious view than analysts'
expectations for a profit of $1.50 per share. Ahead of the bell,
GPS is up 0.2%.
Today's earnings docket will also feature reports from Ann Inc.
), Cost Plus (
), Cyberonics (
), and H.J. Heinz (HNZ). Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
We wrap up the week with the Conference Board's index of leading
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange
(CBOE) saw 1,033,639 call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to
861,677 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio
arrived at 0.83, while the 21-day moving average was 0.70.
Stocks in Asia ended the week on a negative note, as traders
eyed soaring borrowing costs for several key European economies.
Spanish bond yields tagged new euro-era highs ahead of a closely
watched election this Sunday, where the Popular Party is expected
to vanquish the ruling Socialists. Uncertainty over the euro zone's
fiscal future weighed heavily on banking issues and exporters --
particularly in Tokyo, where the yen continues to rise on
safe-haven buying. Meanwhile, data showing a monthly decline in
Chinese home prices also brought out the bears. By the close, South
Korea's Kospi fell 2%, China's Shanghai Composite lost 1.9%, Hong
Kong's Hang Seng gave up 1.7%, and Japan's Nikkei shed 1.2%.
Meanwhile, the major European benchmarks are hovering around the
breakeven line at midday, recovering from earlier losses amid signs
of potential progress on the sovereign debt crisis. ECB President
Mario Draghi is pushing political leaders to implement the proposed
expansion of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), and
a new Dow Jones report indicates that the ECB may be near a plan to
loan money to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to underwrite
government bailouts -- despite a lack of accord from Frankfurt. At
midday, the German DAX and the French CAC 40 are both up 0.4%, and
London's FTSE 100 is off 0.4%.
Currencies and Commodities
The greenback is on the decline this morning, with the U.S.
dollar down 0.7%. On the other hand, crude futures have rebounded
from yesterday's plunge, though the front-month contract still
remains south of the century mark. At last check, December-dated
oil has recovered 0.8% to linger near $99.67 per barrel. Finally,
gold futures have bounced back from two-week lows, with the
precious metal last seen 0.7% higher at $1,731.40 an ounce.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
Due to technical issues, the Unusual Put and Call Activity
charts are unavailable today. We apologize for any
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