Technically, the DJIA yesterday closed its second session above
its 20-day moving average and the 12,200 level, but that winning
streak could be put to the test today. Look for support to
materialize near 12,150, with the 12,050-12,000 region providing an
additional backstop if things turn ugly. The SPX, however, remains
below its 20-day moving average, and could be pressured back below
its 10-day trendline if premarket selling pressure carries over
into the open. Support should hold near the index's rising 10-week
moving average, however, as the SPX has not closed a week below
this trendline since late August 2010.
In earnings news, Smithfield Foods Inc. (
) reported a third-quarter profit of $202.6 million, or $1.21 per
share, up from $37.3 million, or 22 cents per share, a year ago.
Adjusted earnings for the quarter were 84 cents per share. Sales
came in at $3.19 billion. Wall Street was expecting earnings of 69
cents per share on revenue of $3.13 billion.
Elsewhere, coffee kings Starbucks Corp. (
) and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (
) will be in focus today, after SBUX announced that it will sell
its coffee and Tazo brand tea using GMCR's K-Cup individual-service
packages. The new offerings will be available in stores this fall,
the companies said. GMCR has surged nearly 30% in premarket
After the close last night, Jo-Ann Stores, Inc. (JAS) posted a
fourth-quarter profit of $40.4 million, or $1.53 per share,
compared to earnings of $37.1 million, or $1.36 per share, a year
ago. Excluding items, JAS said it earned $1.60 per share, topping
Wall Street's expectations for earnings of $1.53 per share. Revenue
rose 3.6% to $624.1 million, as same-store sales gained 2%.
On the earnings front, Canadian Solar (
), National Semiconductor (
), Clean Energy Fuels (CLNE), and Smith & Wesson (SWHC) are
slated to release their quarterly earnings reports. Keep your
for more news as it breaks.
The weekly report on jobless claims hits the Street today, along
with import/export data for January. We wrap up the week on Friday
with the preliminary Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan
consumer sentiment survey for March, along with comments from New
York Fed President William Dudley.
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange
(CBOE) saw 1,112,251 call contracts traded on Wednesday, compared
to 680,820 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call
ratio arrived at 0.61, while the 21-day moving average rose to
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Overseas trading is in poor shape this morning, as only one of
the 10 foreign indexes that we track is in positive territory. The
cumulative average return on the collective stands at a loss of
0.91%. In Asian trading, regional markets retreated after China
reported a $7.3 billion trade deficit in February, versus
expectations for a surplus. Meanwhile, Moody's Investor Services
cut Spain's bond rating by one notch to Aa2 from Aa1, with a
negative outlook. The broad-based selling pressure has spilled over
into European trading, where news that the Bank of England once
again left its key lending rate unchanged provided little in the
way of inspiration.
Currencies and Commodities
The U.S. dollar has gained ground on the euro this morning, with
the greenback strengthening in the wake of Spain's downgraded debt
rating. At last check, the U.S. Dollar Index was seen higher by
0.4% at 77.03. Elsewhere, crude futures are headed lower despite
continued fighting in Libya. In electronic trading, the April crude
futures contract has fallen $1.29 to $104.32 per barrel. Finally,
gold futures are also being pressured by a stronger U.S. dollar. In
London, the lead gold futures contract has dropped $10.10 to
$1,419.50 an ounce.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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