reclaimed 12,000 level
first-time jobless claims
Turning our attention now to the ever-so-popular European debt
drama, investors cheered European Central Bank (ECB) President
Mario Draghi's choice to cut the interest rate as his first
official policy decision. However, the majority of the attention is
still focused on Greece. As one Greek-led catalyst for a week's
worth of volatile market movement -- the bailout referendum call --
is now defunct, uncertainty still remains on the fate of Greece's
status in the euro-zone and Prime Minister George Papandreou's
future as leader of the struggling country. Against this backdrop,
the DJIA finds itself trading 21 points south of fair value, while
the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) is set to open about 4 points
In equity news, shares of Groupon (
) are due to make their public trading debut on the Nasdaq today,
after the online phenomenon priced its initial public offering
(IPO) at $20 per share last night. The IPO price was just north of
the expected $16-$18 range. Additionally, Groupon hiked the number
of shares offered to 35 million from 30 million. The IPO values
Groupon at nearly $13 billion, and is expected to generate some
$700 million in proceeds for the daily deals site.
In earnings news, Starbucks (SBUX - 41.40) proved that java
drinkers are remaining loyal to their brand, as it served up its
fiscal fourth-quarter earnings after last night's close.
Specifically, the Seattle-based coffee concern reported a quarterly
profit of $358.5 million, or 47 cents per share, representing a 29%
increase from last year's profit of $278.9 million, or 37 cents per
share. Revenue was also on the rise, jumping 6.8% to $3.03 billion.
These results came in much better than expected, as analysts, on
average, were anticipating earnings of 36 cents per share on
revenue of $2.95 billion. Looking ahead, SBUX expects full-year
2012 earnings per share to fall in the $1.75-to-$1.82 range.
Analysts, meanwhile, are looking for earnings to fall on the high
end of that spectrum, at $1.82 per share. SBUX also announced a 31%
dividend increase -- raising its quarterly payout to 17 cents per
share -- and added 20 million shares to its buyback authorization.
SBUX is looking at a 3% jump right out of the gate.
Meanwhile, American International Group (AIG - 24.63) confessed
to a third-quarter operating loss of $3.04 billion, or $1.60 per
share, falling woefully short of Wall Street's forecast for a loss
of 63 cents per share. The quarterly results were impacted by a
number of negative developments, including a $1.5-billion
write-down for AIG's plane-leasing unit, as well as a $2.3-billion
decline in the value of its AIA stake. However, AIG attempted to
ease the pain of its dismal quarterly performance by launching a
$1-billion stock buyback. Shares of AIG are down over 3% in
Finally, LinkedIn (LNKD - 34.64) swallowed a third-quarter loss
of $1.6 million, or 2 cents per share, compared to a profit of $4.0
million, or 2 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Excluding
items, LNKD earned 6 cents per share, while revenue rose by 126% to
$139.5 million. Analysts, on average, were expecting a steeper loss
of 4 cents per share on revenue of $127.6 million. The online
professional networking giant also raised its full-year revenue
estimate to a range between $508 million and $512 million, compared
to its previous guidance of $475 million to $485 million.
Separately, LNKD announced plans to issue roughly $100 million of
shares "to raise capital for the company, facilitate an orderly
distribution of shares and increase the company's public float."
LNKD is looking at a 10% loss ahead of the bell.
Today's earnings docket will also feature reports from Plains
Exploration and Production (
), Washington Post (
), Olympic Steel (
), YRC Worldwide (
), Broadwind Energy (BWEN), Genpact (G), Horsehead Holding (ZINC),
and Madison Square Garden (MSG). Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
We round out the week with the the Labor Department's nonfarm
payrolls report for October.
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange
(CBOE) saw 929,767 call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to
593,716 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio
arrived at 0.64, while the 21-day moving average was 0.67.
Stocks in Asia ended higher today, after Greece opted to abandon
its controversial referendum call. Traders also had a chance to
react to Thursday's accommodative policy move by the ECB, which
indicated that new president Mario Draghi is serious about
fostering economic growth in the euro zone. Fresh optimism about
the state of the global economy proved particularly supportive for
miners and financial stocks, and exporters also capitalized on the
news. However, Sony bucked the uptrend after forecasting a
substantial annual loss. By the close, South Korea's Kospi and Hong
Kong's Hang Seng added 3.1% apiece, Japan's Nikkei jumped 1.9%, and
China's Shanghai Composite climbed 0.8%.
The major European indexes are mixed at midday, with traders on
edge as the Greek government faces a confidence vote. The impending
nonfarm payrolls report out of the U.S. has also incited some
anxiety, as investors look for the next major clue about the state
of the economic recovery. Meanwhile, a few notable earnings misses
are weighing on sentiment, with German banking stalwart Commerzbank
AG and Franco-American telecom concern Alcatel-Lucent both
backpedaling on the heels of their quarterly reports. At last
check, the German DAX is down 0.4%, the French CAC 40 has gained
0.1%, and London's FTSE 100 is up 0.8%.
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