The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) clawed its way back into
positive territory on Friday, ending the week with a gain of 2.6%.
However, the blue chip barometer could be in for a rocky start this
week, as futures on the DJIA and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) are
trading roughly 22 points and 3.6 points below fair value,
respectively. Despite providing the impetus for Friday's
late-session rally, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's "60
Minutes" interview has created turmoil this morning. Specifically,
Bernanke said that "it's certainly possible" that the central bank
could expand its $600 billion Treasury purchase program. While the
admission is proof that the Fed stands ready to help, some
investors are viewing the statement as a sign that U.S. economy is
still so weak it needs to be propped up.
Technically, the DJIA is hovering just below round-number
resistance in the 11,400 region, with potential support at the
11,300-11,350 region. As for the SPX, the broad-market index is
staring up at potential resistance near its 2010 highs in the 1,226
area, while support resides near the 1,210 level.
In equity news, Dollar General Corp. (
) reported a third-quarter profit of $128.1 million, or 37 cents
per share, as net sales rose 10% to $3.22 billion and same-store
sales increased 4.2%. Excluding items, earnings in the quarter were
39 cents per share. Analysts were looking for a profit of 35 cents
per share on sales of $3.23 billion. Looking ahead, Dollar General
said that it expects full-year adjusted earnings of between $1.78
and $1.81 per share, up from previous guidance for earnings of
between $1.68 and $1.74 per share. Analysts had been forecasting
earnings for the year of $1.78 per share.
Elsewhere, MetLife Inc., (
) said that it expects to post full-year 2010 earnings of $3.13 to
$3.57 per share, up from a loss of $2.89 per share last year.
Operating earnings for the full year should come in at $4.26 to
$4.36 per share. Analysts are expecting a 2010 profit of $4.26 per
share. For 2011, operating earnings are seen at $4.75 to $5.15 per
share on revenue of $45.8 billion to $47 billion.
Finally, Pfizer Inc. (
) announced over the weekend that CEO Jeffrey Kindler will
unexpectedly retire. Ian Read, head of the company's
biopharmaceuticals arm, will succeed Kindler. Kindler cited the
heavy demands of the job during the past four and a half years as
reason for his departure.
On the earnings front, The Pep Boys - Manny, Moe & Jack (
) is scheduled to release its quarterly reports today. Keep your
for more news as it breaks.
There are no major economic reports scheduled for today, while
the October consumer credit report will arrive tomorrow. On
Wednesday, we'll get the usual weekly report on crude inventories,
while Thursday offers up the weekly report on jobless claims and
October's wholesale inventories. Friday ends the week 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 (
) saw 1,189,532 call contracts traded on Friday, compared to
623,556 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio
arrived at 0.52 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, with only four of the 10
foreign indexes that we track in positive territory. The cumulative
average return on the collective stands at a loss of 0.11%. In
Asian trading, traders digested the weaker-than-expected rise in
U.S. nonfarm payrolls and indications that the U.S. Fed could
further expand its asset purchase program. Meanwhile, the financial
sector is weighing heavily on European regional markets, with
investors playing it close to the vest ahead of data on the
European Central Bank's latest bond-buying program.
Currencies and Commodities
Crude futures have pulled back from fresh two-year highs this
morning, as the U.S. dollar rebounded from last week's slide. At
last check, the front-month contract was down 42 cents at $88.77
per barrel, while the U.S. Dollar Index had added 0.58% to trade at
79.84. Gold futures, meanwhile, have largely ignored the
greenback's rebound, rallying $6.90 to $1,413.10 an ounce in
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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