The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) slipped fractionally
lower on Thursday, but remained above support at the 11,350 level.
The blue chip barometer enters today with a positive bias, as DJIA
futures are pointing toward a gain of roughly 25 points, when
compared with fair value. What's more, the S&P 500 Index (SPX)
is trading about 5 points above fair value. Talk of Chinese
inflation and a potential rate hike from Beijing could take center
stage today, after the People's Bank of China lifted the country's
bank reserve ratio once again. Tenet Healthcare Corp. (
) will also be in focus, after the company rejected a takeover
offer from Community Health Systems (
Technically, the DJIA remains trapped in a trading range between
support at the 11,350 level and overhead resistance in the 11,400
region. Look for these levels to continue to play a role in today's
trading. As for the SPX, the broad market index is poised to set
yet another two-year high today. Look for the index to threaten
short-term resistance near 1,236, while support could materialize
In equity news, Community Health Systems has offered to buy
Tenet Healthcare for $6 per share, or $7.3 billion - a premium of
40% over Thursday's closing price. Community Health's offer
includes $5 per share in cash and $1 per share in common stock.
Community Health announced the offer via press release after the
close on Thursday, but it also said that Tenet rejected the bid
three days ago.
On the earnings front, United Technologies (
) affirmed its outlook for 2010 and 2011. The company sees earnings
of $4.70 per share on revenue of $54 billion in 2010, and earnings
of $5.05 to $5.35 per share on revenue of $56 billion to $57
billion in 2011. Analysts estimate earnings of $4.72 per share on
revenue of $54.26 billion in 2010, and $5.29 per share on revenue
of $57.05 billion in 2011.
Elsewhere, National Semiconductor (
) reported a fiscal second-quarter profit of $83.5 million, or 34
cents per share, compared with a profit of $47 million, or 20 cents
per share, for the year-earlier period. Revenue was $390.4 million,
up from $344.6 million. Analysts had expected the chip company to
report earnings of 32 cents per share, on revenue of $399.4
million. For the current quarter, the company said it expects
revenue in the range of $344 million to $359 million. Analysts had
expected sales of $381.9 million.
Finally, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (
) reported its fiscal fourth-quarter profit nearly doubled to $27
million, or 20 cents per share, from a year ago. Sales soared 73%
to $373.1 million. Analysts had expected Green Mountain to earn 20
cents per share on sales of $359.7 million.
There are no major earnings reports slated for release today.
Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
We round out the week today with November's import/export
prices, December's University of Michigan consumer sentiment index,
and November's Treasury budget.
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange
(CBOE) saw 1,618,156 call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to
698,814 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio
arrived at 0.43 while the 21-day moving average dropped 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
Overseas trading is mixed this morning, with six of the 10
foreign indexes that we track in positive territory. The cumulative
average return on the collective stands at a gain of 0.19%. Asian
stocks broadly declined on threats of inflation and the potential
for an interest rate hike out of Beijing. Additionally, the
People's Bank of China raised banks' reserve requirement ratio
shortly after the close of trading. European markets are trading
cautiously higher heading into midday trading, as investors digest
the potential impact of further monetary tightening out of
Currencies and Commodities
The U.S. dollar is pulling aback this morning, as Asian
inflation concerns and strong demand for yesterday's U.S.
Treasury's 30-year bond auction sapped the greenback's strength.
The U.S. Dollar Index continues to be squeezed between its 10-day
and 20-day moving averages, and was last seen lower by 0.21% at
79.90. Crude futures are heading higher this morning, bolstered by
a declining U.S. dollar. At last check, the January contract was up
51 cents at $88.88 per barrel. Finally, threats of inflation in
Asia are weakening gold, with the malleable metal slipping $2.50 an
ounce in London.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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