U.S. stocks have followed their European peers into the black
this morning, as investors continue to celebrate signs of progress
across the pond. Along with talk of a potential
, Germany and France's confidence in debt-strapped Greece is
keeping the proverbial glass half full, helping to overshadow some
bleak news in the equities market. Most notably, UBS AG (UBS )
confessed that a rogue trader -- who's since been arrested in
London, according to Reuters -- racked up $2 billion in
unauthorized losses, while Netflix (NFLX ) has retreated after
shaving its third-quarter subscriber forecast. Nevertheless, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is headed for a 60-point jump
out of the gate, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite (COMP) is
trading about 15 points north of fair value.
As alluded to earlier, Netflix (NFLX - 208.71) cut its domestic
subscriber estimates for the third quarter, though the video-rental
firm maintained its quarterly earnings forecast. Specifically, NFLX
now expects 21.8 million streaming subscribers and 14.2 million DVD
subscribers in the current quarter, compared to its previous
projections for 22 million and 15 million, respectively. The
company said it remains "convinced that the splitting of our
services was the right long-term strategic choice." Furthermore,
"We know our decision to split our services has upset many of our
subscribers, which we don't take lightly, but we believe this split
will help us make our services better for subscribers and
shareholders for years to come." In pre-market action, NFLX has
given up about 11%.
In earnings news, Pier 1 Imports (PIR - 11.67) said fiscal
second-quarter earnings rose 16% to $16.6 million, or 14 cents per
share, matching both the company's guidance and analysts'
expectations. Revenue, meanwhile, rose 9.6% to $339.6 million,
while same-store sales jumped 11% from the year-ago quarter.
Analysts, on average, were expecting PIR to record revenue of just
$332.9 million. "It is hard to predict how the economy will fare
over the next several months, but we fully expect our business to
be successful through the fall and holiday selling season," said
CEO Alex W. Smith. Ahead of the bell, PIR has advanced 5.9%.
Finally, Clarcor (CLC - 45.84) reported a fiscal third-quarter
profit of $32.1 million, or 63 cents per share, up 13% from $28.3
million, or 55 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Revenue
ramped up 8.4% to $284.8 million. Analysts had expected earnings of
66 cents per share on revenue of $295.33 million. Looking ahead,
CLC predicted full-year earnings to range between $2.25 and $2.40
per share, just short of Wall Street's forecast of $2.42 per share.
"We enter the fourth quarter with some caution," said Chairman and
CEO Norm Johnson. "We experienced some challenges with slower
economic activity in Europe and China in the third quarter, and
uncertainty prevails in the U.S. economy going forward." At last
check, CLC is poised to open with a 7.8% drop.
Today's earnings docket will also feature reports from AAR Corp.
), Diamond Foods (
), Marcus Corp. (
), and Research In Motion Ltd. (
). Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
Today features the weekly jobless figures from the Labor
Department, the Empire State manufacturing index, the Philly Fed
business index, the consumer price index (
), and industrial production and capacity utilization for August.
Friday wraps up with the preliminary Reuters/University of Michigan
consumer sentiment index for September.
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange
(CBOE) saw 1,004,384 call contracts traded on Wednesday, compared
to 653,585 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call
ratio arrived at 0.65, while the 21-day moving average was
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Asian markets ended mostly higher today, following suit with
Wall Street's Wednesday gains. Traders were reassured after France
and Germany reiterated their commitment to keeping Greece in the
euro zone, which provided support for economically sensitive
commodity issues. Steel stocks were a particular pocket of strength
in Tokyo, thanks to a bullish note from Credit Suisse. However,
Chinese-listed equities sat out the day's advance, with the
benchmark index closing lower on light volume. By the close,
Japan's Nikkei jumped 1.8%, South Korea's Kospi rose 1.4%, Hong
Kong's Hang Seng added 0.7%, and China's Shanghai Composite fell
Stocks in Europe are gaining ground, boosted by Prime Minister
George Papandreou's vow that debt-laden Greece fully intends to
meet its financial obligations. However, not all of the headlines
are so upbeat. Swiss bank UBS is taking a drubbing after confessing
that one of its employees racked up $2 billion in losses on
unauthorized trades, which led to the arrest of a 31-year-old
suspect in London. Meanwhile, beaten-down Societe Generale was cut
to "reduce" at Nomura, just one session after getting slapped with
a Moody's downgrade. Nevertheless, bulls are driving the action at
midday. At last check, the German DAX has advanced 2.3%, the French
CAC 40 has added 2.6%, while London's FTSE 100 is roughly 1.9%
Currencies and Commodities
The greenback is trading slightly lower this morning, with the
U.S. dollar index down about 0.3% at last look. Elsewhere, crude
oil futures have reclaimed some ground after yesterday's
inventories-related decline, with the front-month contract up 52
cents, or 0.6%, at $89.53 per barrel. Gold futures, on the other
hand, have extended yesterday's retreat, giving up $18.90, or 1%,
to linger near $1,807.60 an ounce.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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