Stocks are set to open south of breakeven today, with Wall
Street awaiting another batch of employment and manufacturing data.
Specifically, the Labor Department's weekly jobless figures are
slated for release at 8:30 a.m. Eastern, preceding tomorrow's
highly anticipated nonfarm payrolls report for August. Furthermore,
the Institute for Supply Management (
) manufacturing index is due out at 10 a.m. Eastern, with
economists expecting a retreat beneath the benchmark 50 level. On
the corporate front, a slew of same-store sales reports will roll
in from the retail sector, which should give clues into the
financial fallout from Hurricane Irene. After four straight days in
the black, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is poised to
start September -- which has been
positive in four of the last five years
-- roughly 21.5 points in the red.
In equities news, Costco Wholesale (COST - 78.54) made headlines
last night, after the retailer announced that co-founder and CEO
Jim Sinegal has decided to step down from the chief executive slot.
The 75-year old will be replaced by President and COO Craig
Jelinek, who will take the reins in January. In addition, COST said
August same-store sales rose 11%, thanks to rising gasoline prices
and a favorable forex backdrop. Analysts, on average, were
expecting same-store sales to rise by just 9.3% last month.
In earnings news, Coldwater Creek (CWTR - 1.06) reported a
fiscal second-quarter loss of $27.7 million, or 30 cents per share,
compared to a profit of $1.5 million, or 2 cents per share, in the
year-ago period. On an adjusted basis, CWTR lost 27 cents per
share. Analysts, on average, had predicted a narrower loss of 22
cents per share. Revenue, meanwhile, plummeted 28% to $181.4
million, reflecting hits to both retail and direct sales. In
addition, CWTR announced plans to close 35 to 45 stores over the
next two years, which it expects to ease annualized expenses by $15
million to $20 million. "While we are disappointed with our
second-quarter financial results, we had expected the period to be
challenging as our summer assortment did not fully reflect our new
merchandise direction," said Chairman and CEO Dennis Pence.
Elsewhere, Zumiez (ZUMZ - 18.49) banked a second-quarter profit
of $2.6 million, or 8 cents per share, reversing its year-ago loss
of $1.2 million, or 4 cents per share. By contrast, analysts were
expecting earnings of just 5 cents per share. Meanwhile, net sales
for the quarter climbed 14.9% to $112.2 million, boosted by a 7.5%
increase in same-store sales. However, ZUMZ predicted earnings of
37 cents to 39 cents per share for the current quarter, falling
short of Wall Street's forecast for a third-quarter profit of 44
cents per share.
Finally, Ciena Corp. (CIEN - 12.24) reported a second-quarter
loss of $31.5 million, or 33 cents per share -- narrower than its
year-earlier loss of $109.9 million, or $1.18 per share. Excluding
items, the company said it swung to a profit of 8 cents per share,
compared to an adjusted per-share loss of 9 cents a year earlier.
Analysts, on average, predicted a loss of 8 cents a share for CIEN.
Meanwhile, revenue rose 12% to $435.3 million, at the low end of
the company's guidance for sales of $435 million to $455 million.
Looking ahead, CIEN projected current-quarter revenue between $440
million and $460 million, falling short of the Street's consensus
estimate for sales of $474 million.
Today's earnings docket will also feature reports from Finisar (
), H&R Block (
), and Quiksilver (
). Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
As alluded to earlier, initial jobless claims are due out today,
as is the ISM manufacturing index for August. Also on the day's
docket are July's construction spending and auto sales for August.
The Labor Department's much-anticipated nonfarm payrolls report for
August will be released ahead of the open on Friday, capping off
our three-day deluge of jobs data.
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (
) saw 923,055 call contracts traded on Wednesday, compared to
596,354 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio
arrived at 0.65, while the 21-day moving average was 0.79.
The summer 2011 issue of
magazine is now available here.
Asian stocks ended mostly higher today, with traders cheering a
solid manufacturing report out of China. The country's purchasing
managers index (PMI) jumped to 50.9 in August, marking the first
monthly increase since March. On the heels of a
stronger-than-forecast Chicago PMI reading, the data provided a bit
of relief over the state of the global economic recovery. However,
Shanghai's benchmark index still ended the session lower. "We must
try our best to bring about a bigger drop in inflation in the
second half of this year and lay a foundation for price controls
for next year," said Premier Wen Jiabao in an interview, rekindling
concerns about additional policy-tightening moves that could tamp
down economic growth. By the close, Japan's Nikkei gained 1.2%,
Hong Kong's Hang Seng edged up 0.3%, South Korea's Kospi added just
fractions of a point, and China's Shanghai Composite shed 0.4%.
European markets have dipped into the red at midday, as regional
manufacturing data was markedly less encouraging than comparable
reports out of the U.S. and China. The final euro-zone PMI for
August dropped to 49, marking the first breach of the benchmark 50
level since September 2009. Meanwhile, in equities news, L'Oreal
was pummeled with negative analyst notes in the wake of its
first-half results, while Lagardere was hit with a round of
price-target cuts after warning of weaker-than-expected full-year
earnings. At last check, the German DAX is down 1.5%, France's CAC
40 is off 0.8%, and London's FTSE 100 has shed 0.2%.
Currencies and Commodities
The greenback has gained ground this morning, with the U.S.
dollar index up 0.4 point, or 0.6%, at last check. Elsewhere, crude
oil futures have extended yesterday's eleventh-hour retreat, with
the front-month contract trading 25 cents, or 0.3%, lower at $88.56
per barrel. Meanwhile, gold futures have given back yesterday's
modest gains, with the malleable metal last seen about $8.70, or
0.5%, lower at $1,823 an ounce.
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