The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and S&P 500 Index
(SPX) are shaking off
, with stock futures on the broad-market indexes headed higher.
Wall Street is hoping that November's nonfarm payrolls report,
slated for release at 8:30 a.m., follows in the direction of other
promising economic reports
that were dispatched earlier in the week. Although they are
expecting roughly 125,000 new jobs, economists are predicting that
unemployment will remain firm at 9.0%.
Heading across the pond, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French
President Nicolas Sarkozy are once again preparing to take budget
proposals to the table -- including a possible treaty -- at a
European Union (
) financial summit, scheduled for Dec. 9. Against this optimistic
backdrop, futures on the DJIA are trading 150 points above fair
value, while the
S&P 500 Index (SPX)
is up over 17 points.
In equities news, Research In Motion (RIMM - 18.58) warned today
that it will take a $485-million charge during the third quarter,
or $360 million after taxes, as the company implements additional
promotional efforts in an attempt to pare down its bloated PlayBook
inventory. RIMM added that adjusted revenue for the third quarter
is now expected to arrive below the firm's prior guidance of $5.3
billion to $5.6 billion. Adjusted earnings for the quarter are
expected to fall near the mid-to-low end of RIMM's previously
forecast range of $1.20 to $1.40 per share, and the BlackBerry
maker no longer expects to meet its full-year target of $5.25 to
$6.00 per share. Despite the lackluster sales so far, co-CEO Mike
Lazaridis asserted, "RIM is committed to the BlackBerry PlayBook
and believes the tablet market is still in its infancy." RIMM is
down over 3% ahead of the bell.
In earnings news, Ulta (ULTA - 68.49) reported a third-quarter
profit of $26.8 million, or 42 cents per share, up 88.5% from $14.2
million, or 23 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Meanwhile,
revenue rose by 21.8% to $413.1 million, as same-store sales
climbed 9.6%. Analysts, on average, were looking for a profit of 38
cents per share on revenue of $406.5 million. Looking ahead, ULTA
is expecting a fourth-quarter profit of 62 cents to 64 cents per
share, with revenue ranging between $552 million and $562 million.
Analysts are predicting a more modest profit of 61 cents per share
-- but the top-line forecast came in a little softer than expected,
with Wall Street targeting fourth-quarter revenue of $559
Today's earnings docket will also feature a report from Big Lots
). Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
The week wraps up as the Labor Department unveils its monthly
nonfarm payrolls report today.
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (
) saw 841,295 call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to
546,475 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio
arrived at 0.65, while the 21-day moving average was 0.71.
Stocks in Asia ended mixed today, as the bulls let up on the
throttle after Thursday's big gains. Traders seemed reluctant to
push equities too much higher ahead of the weekend -- particularly
with a key U.S. employment report on the day's docket. Meanwhile,
automakers took diverging paths in the wake of November sales data.
Toyota and Nissan both gained ground after their respective
reports, while Honda declined after confessing to another month of
weakening sales. By the close, China's Shanghai Composite fell
1.1%, South Korea's Kospi ended fractionally lower, Hong Kong's
Hang Seng added 0.2%, and Japan's Nikkei jumped 0.5%.
On the other hand, European benchmarks are broadly higher at
mid-session. Investor sentiment caught a boost after Merkel and
Sarkozy announced a Monday meeting to discuss possible treaty
reforms that could facilitate the euro zone's fiscal
rehabilitation. At last check, the French CAC 40 has added about
1.8%, the German DAX is up 1.7%, and London's FTSE 100 is 1.7%
Currencies and Commodities
The U.S. dollar index is headed lower this morning, with the
greenback 0.1% lower at $78.23. Crude oil, on the other hand, is
hoping to extend its stay above the century mark, with the
front-month contract 0.8% higher to trade at $100.97 per barrel.
Gold futures are looking to end the week on a positive note. At
last check, the malleable metal has added $14.50 to rest at
$1,754.30 per ounce.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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