Opening View: DJIA Futures Treading Water; VIX on the Move?


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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) added about 10 points on Wednesday, as market bulls overcame a weak energy sector to finish higher for the second session in a row. The DJIA is still staring up at resistance in the 10,450 region, where the blue-chip barometer's 200-day moving average currently resides. Look for token support near 10,400 in today's trading, while more stalwart support should emerge near 10,300. Heading into the open, the DJIA is trading flat to lower compared to fair value, pointing toward a bit of trepidation ahead of economic reports on weekly jobless claims, July's leading indicators, and manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region. Futures on the S&P 500 Index (SPX) are also relatively flat, with the broad-market index apparently unwilling to test battle resistance at the 1,100 level again today. Finally, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) could be gearing up for a sharp move, as the VIX's trading range becomes increasingly narrowed by resistance at its 50-day trendline (near 26) and support at its 200-day moving average (currently at 23.50).

Ahead of the open this morning, Sears Holdings Corp. ( SHLD ) narrowed its second-quarter net loss to $39 million, or 35 cents per share, from $94 million, or 79 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. The company reported an adjusted net loss of 19 cents per, missing the consensus forecast for a loss of 17 cents per share. Sales inched lower to $10.46 billion from $10.55 billion.

Also in pre-market activity, Staples Inc. ( SPLS ) said its adjusted second-quarter earnings were 20 cents per share, matching Wall Street's expectations for a profit of 20 cents per share. Sales were flat at $5.5 billion. Looking ahead, the company said it expects sales to rise in the low single digits in the third quarter and expects adjusted earnings of 39 to 41 cents per share. For the full year, Staples expects a low single-digit rise in sales, with adjusted earnings in a range of $1.25 to $1.29 per share.

After the close last night, NetApp Inc. ( NTAP ) reported a first-quarter profit of $183 million, or 49 cents per share, excluding items, on revenue of $1.14 billion. Analysts were looking for a profit of 46 cents per share on $1.13 billion in sales.

Finally, Applied Materials Inc. ( AMAT ) reported adjusted third-quarter earnings of 17 cents per share, as revenue rose to $2.52 billion. The company's adjusted profit also included a restructuring charge of 12 cents per share. Excluding that charge, non-GAAP earnings would have been 29 cents per share. Analysts had expected the chip-equipment maker to report earnings of 25 cents per share, on revenue of $2.35 billion.

Earnings Preview

On the earnings front, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. ( ANF ), The Home Depot Inc. ( HD ), Saks Inc. ( SKS ), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. ( WMT ), and Analog Devices Inc. ( ADI ) are scheduled to release their quarterly earnings report today. Keep your browser at for more news as it breaks.

Economic Calendar

The weekly report on initial jobless claims will be released on later this morning, along with the Conference Board's Leading Indicators Index for July, and the Philadelphia Fed Index for August. There are no major economic reports scheduled for release tomorrow.

Market Statistics

Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange ( CBOE ) saw 1,077,638 call contracts traded on Wednesday, compared to 720,089 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio arrived at 0.67, while the 21-day moving average rose to 0.62.

Volatility indices

NYSE and Nasdaq summary

**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 higher.**

Dow, S&P and Nasdaq futures

Senior Equities Analyst Andrea Kramer will be live blogging from the Schaeffer's booth at the San Francisco Money Show later this week. Click here for an advance look at what to expect at this premier investor event.

Overseas Trading

Overseas trading looks strong this morning, as all 10 of the foreign indexes that we track are in positive territory. The cumulative average return on the collective stands at a gain of 0.72%. In Asia, Japanese stocks led the rally, with traders cheering the possibility of easing monetary policy by the Bank of Japan. European stocks are following Asia's lead, with the region rallying around strong U.K. retail sales data and a boosted outlook for Germany's growth forecast by Bundesbank.

Overseas markets

Currencies and Commodities

The U.S. Dollar Index is on the move higher again this morning, as the greenback advances on both the Japanese yen and the euro. Currency traders have zeroed in on Japan this morning, as the country's central bank is debating additional easing in monetary policy. At last check, the U.S. Dollar Index was up 0.13% at 82.34. Crude futures are rebounding after tagging a six-week low on Wednesday. In electronic trading, the front-month contract is up 30 cents at $76.08 per barrel. Finally, the decline in the euro and the rise in the U.S. dollar is creating a bit of drag on gold futures this morning, as the most active contract is down 40 cents at $1,231 an ounce in London.

Currencies and commodities

Unusual Put and Call Activity:

For an explanation of how to use this information, check out our Education Center topics on Option Volume and Open Interest Configurations .

Unusual options activity - puts

Unusual options activity - calls

Every morning, our research staff analyzes the prior day and the overnight markets, and monitors the morning wires to give you an accurate preview of the day to come. If you enjoyed today's edition of Opening View, sign up here for free daily delivery, straight to your inbox, before the opening bell.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Options

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