The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) shrugged off a round of
lackluster economic data on Wednesday to close higher by nearly 50
points. Resistance at the 10,600 level held firm however, and the
Dow appears to be consolidating in yet another trading range, bound
on the lower side by support at the 10,500 level. Heading into the
open, futures on the DJIA and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) are
trading roughly 24 points and 3 points below fair value,
respectively, indicating that the duo could be headed back toward
short-term support levels. For the SPX, this means slipping back
toward its 200-day moving average in the 1,116 region. Investors
looking for a spot of excitement should take a closer look at gold,
as the precious metal just set another record peak (above $1,277)
in premarket trading.
In equity news, FedEx Corp. (
) reported first-quarter earnings of $380 million, or $1.20 per
share, as sales rose 18% to $9.46 billion. Analysts were looking
for earnings of $1.20 per share on sales of $9.4 billion. Looking
ahead to the second quarter, FedEx forecast earnings in the range
of $1.15 to $1.35 per share, just shy of Wall Street's view for
$1.36 per share. For the full fiscal year, the company sees
earnings in a range of $4.80 to $5.25 per share, surrounding the
consensus estimate for earnings of $5.24 per share.
Elsewhere, NRG Energy Inc. (
) kept the merger-and-acquisition ball rolling on Wall Street by
announcing that it is buying Green Mountain Energy Company for $350
million in cash. NRG said the acquisition fits its strategy to
"become the clean energy provider of choice for Americans who want
to make a difference for the environment." The company plans on
running Green Mountain as a stand-alone business. NRG said it would
fund the purchase with cash on hand, and expects the deal to close
by the middle of November.
Finally, Barclays Capital upgraded Ford Motor Co. (
) to "overweight" from "equal weight," and lifted its price target
on the shares to $16 from $15. "[Investors] appear to be ignoring
the fundamental increase in Ford's earnings power even in a
slower-growth environment," the brokerage firm wrote in a research
note. That increase is "driven by favorable Ford product (and U.S.
industry pricing) on top of a stripped-down cost base, even at flat
On the earnings front, Oracle Corp. (
) and Research In Motion Limited (
) are slated to release their quarterly earnings reports today.
Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
Today, we'll get the weekly report on new jobless claims, as
well as the producer price index for August and the Philadelphia
Fed's manufacturing report. Finally, the Labor Department will
deliver the August consumer price index on Friday, while the
University of Michigan will give its first peek at consumer
sentiment in September.
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (
) saw 1,280,720 call contracts traded on Wednesday, compared to
699,052 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio
arrived at 0.55, while the 21-day moving average slipped to
**The volume data shown above is from the Nasdaq and NYSE
exchanges only. It does not include regional volume activity,
which means that other daily volume quotes you see may be
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Overseas trading looks pretty haggard 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
0.4%. Asian markets headed broadly lower, as investors worried that
the People's Bank of China might raise interest rates. What's more,
a report surfaced that Beijing may raise banks' capital adequacy
ratios. A rally in exporters helped Japan weather the worst of the
selling. Meanwhile, European stocks are also headed lower, with
traders pulling back after an unexpected drop in U.K. retail
Currencies and Commodities
Gold futures are taking center stage once again this week, with
the December contract rising to yet another record high this week.
At last check, gold futures were up $8.10 at $1,276.80 an ounce.
Providing lift for the malleable metal is fresh weakness in the
U.S. dollar versus its foreign counterparts. The U.S. Dollar Index
has slipped 0.45% to trade at 81.13 heading into the open. Finally,
crude futures have been unable to capitalize on the dollar's
weakness, slipping 64 cents to $76.48 per barrel in electronic
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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