After rallying more than 350 points in two days, the Dow Jones
Industrial Average (DJIA) is on pace to end the first week of
December with a gain of roughly 2.5%. However, Wall Street must
first get past today's November nonfarm payrolls report and
unemployment rate. Economists are forecasting that the U.S. economy
added 155,000 jobs last month, with the unemployment rate holding
steady at 9.6%. Despite the impressive rally heading into the
report, stocks are in a holding pattern this morning, with futures
on the DJIA and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) trading roughly 7.6
points and 2.3 points above fair value, respectively.
Technically, the DJIA has reclaimed former support at the 11,350
level and could easily challenge its 2010 highs near 11,450
following better-than-expected jobs data. Look for support to hold
near 11,250 on a pullback, with the 11,200 area providing a
backstop if the situation turns sour. As for the SPX, the index has
resistance near 1,230, while short-term support rests at 1,210,
while the 1,200 should contain any sharp sell-off.
In equity news, Big Lots Inc. (
) reported a third-quarter profit of $17.7 million, or 23 cents per
share, down 42% from earnings of $30.3 million, or 37 cents per
share, a year earlier. Net sales rose 2% to $1.06 billion, as
same-store sales rose 0.7%. Analysts were looking for a profit of
24 cents per share. Looking ahead, Big Lots said it sees full-year
earnings of between $2.75 and $2.81 per share, down from its prior
forecast for a profit of between $2.82 and $2.90 per share.
Elsewhere, Novell Inc. (
) said that it swung to a fourth-quarter profit of $322.2 million,
or 91 cents per share, from a loss of $255.7 million, or 74 cents
per share, in the same period last year. Revenue fell to $206.5
million, from $215.6 million. Excluding one-time items, Novell said
earnings for the quarter were 7 cents per share. Analysts had
expected Novell to report earnings excluding items of 7 cents per
share, and $203.5 million in revenue.
Finally, Verifone Systems (
) also swung to a fourth-quarter profit of $49.4 million, or 55
cents per share, from a loss of $2.2 million, or 3 cents per share,
in the year-ago period. Excluding one-time items, the company would
have reported a profit of 40 cents per share in the latest quarter.
Revenue rose to $228.3 million from $186 million last year.
Analysts estimated a quarterly profit of 36 cents per share on
revenue of $262.7 million. The company forecast first-quarter
adjusted earnings of 38 cents to 39 cents on revenue of $265
million to $270 million, compared with an analyst consensus of 35
cents per share on revenue of $260.4 million.
There are no major earnings reports slated for release today.
Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
The much anticipated nonfarm payrolls report and the
unemployment rate for November will arrive, accompanied by October
factory orders and the Institute for Supply Management's services
index for November.
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (
) saw 1,561,657 call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to
714,729 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio
arrived at 0.46, while the 21-day moving average held at 0.57.
**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
Overseas trading is mixed this morning, as only four of the 10
foreign indexes that we track are in positive territory. The
cumulative average return on the collective stands at a gain of
0.02%. Asian markets struggled to find positive territory, as hope
that the European Central Bank would contain the spreading euro
zone debt contagion vied with trepidation ahead of today's jobs
data in the U.S. European markets, meanwhile, appear to be in a
holding pattern ahead of this morning's update on the status of
U.S. employment, with most regional indexes hovering near
Currencies and Commodities
The euro is continuing to gain ground on the U.S. dollar this
morning, with traders bidding the currency higher after the
European Central Bank reassured investors that it would work to
contain the region's debt crisis. At last check, the U.S. Dollar
Index was off 0.35% at 80.03. In commodities, crude futures are
capitalizing on the greenback's weakness, rising 24 cents to $88.24
per barrel. Gold futures, meanwhile, have added just $2.90 to trade
at $1,392.20 an ounce in London.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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