The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) slipped roughly 19
points on Wednesday, as the blue chip barometer was unable to hold
above the 11,500 level despite a round of solid domestic economic
data. Wall Street will be faced with another round of reports
today, with housing starts and weekly jobless claims on tap later
this morning. Investors are also awaiting the start of a summit of
European leaders in Brussels. Heading into the open, futures on the
DJIA and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) are trading roughly 29.5
points and 3.7 points above fair value, respectively.
Technically, the Dow enters today trading above potential
short-term support at the 11,450 level, while resistance at the
11,500 level is still a major barrier to a continued rally for the
DJIA. Look for the 11,350 level to provide a backstop if this
morning's economic reports go south. As for the SPX, the broad
market index's winning streak ended at six consecutive sessions
yesterday. Short-term support held at the 1,235 level, though, even
as resistance firmed near 1,245. In the event of a poorly received
economic data, look for the 1,230 level to hold firm.
In equity news, Pier 1 Imports Inc. (
) posted a 46% drop in third-quarter net income to $21 million, or
18 cents per share, from $38.8 million, or 37 cents per share, last
year. Same-store sales for the quarter rose 10.2%. Analysts were
looking for a profit of 15 cents per share.
Also on the earnings front, FedEx Corp. (
) is expected to report a second-quarter profit of $1.31 per share
later this morning. The company earned $1.10 per share in the same
quarter last year. Historically, FedEx has matched the consensus
twice, matched once, and missed the Street's view once, for an
average upside surprise of 2.5%.
Finally, Research In Motion Limited (
) is seen posting a third-quarter profit of $1.65 per share after
the close of trading this afternoon. Last year, RIMM posted a
third-quarter profit of $1.10 per share. The company has topped the
consensus estimate in three of the prior four reporting periods by
an average of about 4%.
On the earnings front, Actuant Corp. (
), Discover Financial Services (
), General Mills Inc. (GIS), Rite Aid Corp. (RAD), Oracle Corp.
(ORCL), and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (TTWO) will also
release their quarterly reports. Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
The economic calendar is busy once again today, with weekly
jobless claims, November housing starts, and the Philly Fed's
December manufacturing index. The flood finally abates on Friday,
with only the Conference Board's leading indicators for November
slated for release
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange
(CBOE) saw 1,327,953 call contracts traded on Wednesday, compared
to 736,439 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call
ratio arrived at 0.55 while the 21-day moving average held at
**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 headed lower this morning, with only three
of the10 foreign indexes that we track in positive territory. The
cumulative average return on the collective stands at a loss of
0.18%. Trading in Asia was mixed, with euro zone sovereign debt and
potentially tightening monetary policy out of Beijing creating
turbulence. Across the pond in Europe, regional indexes are
hovering just below breakeven, with investors reluctant to take
sides ahead of economic data out of the U.S.
Currencies and Commodities
The U.S. dollar is weak this morning, as traders head to the
sidelines ahead of today's housing data. In overseas trading, the
dollar has spilled against the Japanese yen, helping to send the
U.S. Dollar Index 0.12% lower to 80.16 in premarket trading.
Despite the greenback's decline, commodities have not capitalized
on the situation. In fact, crude futures have dropped 47 cents to
$88.77 in electronic trading What's more, gold futures are hovering
just below breakeven, with the December contract off 90 cents at
$1,385.30 an once in London.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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