After suffering three straight triple-digit drops, the Dow Jones
Industrial Average (DJIA) is flirting with a triple-digit
ahead of the bell today. Bolstering sentiment is buzz surrounding
President Obama's speech to Congress tomorrow night, where he could
unveil a $300 billion plan to boost jobs, according to Bloomberg.
In addition, Wall Street is taking its cues from overseas, where
traders are celebrating solid economic data out of Australia, a
German court ruling, and the termination of Yahoo (
) CEO Carol Bartz. In pre-market trading, the DJIA is lingering
about 104 points north of fair value, while the S&P 500 Index
(SPX) is set for a 12.5-point lead.
As alluded to earlier, Yahoo (YHOO - 12.91) CEO Carol Bartz was
fired last night, ending her tenure which began in January 2009.
According to Reuters, Bartz sent an email notifying employees that
she was "fired over the phone" by Chairman Roy Bostock. Until YHOO
finds a permanent replacement, CFO Tim Morse will step into the
role as interim CEO. Ahead of the bell, the shares of YHOO are
headed about 6% higher.
In earnings news, VeriFone Systems (PAY - 35.07) said fiscal
third-quarter earnings soared 42% to $26.3 million, or 28 cents per
share, from $18.5 million, or 21 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company said it earned 49 cents per share,
compared to last year's adjusted per-share profit of 36 cents.
Revenue, meanwhile, jumped 21% to $317 million. Analysts, on
average, were anticipating a slimmer third-quarter profit of 46
cents per share on $299.4 million in sales. Looking ahead, PAY
expects fourth-quarter earnings of 49 cents to 50 cents per share
on revenue of $395 million to $400 million. For comparison, Wall
Street was calling for a fourth-quarter profit of 49 cents per
share on revenue of $396 million. In pre-market trading, PAY is up
Pep Boys (PBY - 9.48) reported a second-quarter profit of $13.9
million, or 26 cents per share, up 32% from last year's earnings of
$10.6 million, or 20 cents per share. Revenue for the quarter
climbed 3.5% to $522.6 million. The results were mixed, with
analysts looking for a profit of 19 cents per share on $527 million
in revenue. "Our profitability continues to improve as we weather
the challenging macroeconomic environment of high gas prices and
depressed consumer confidence," said President and CEO Mike Odell.
"Our maintenance and repair services remain stable, allowing us to
mostly offset soft tire sales."
Today's earnings docket will also feature reports from
), Hovnanian Enterprises (
), Men's Wearhouse (
), Smith & Wesson (
), Sycamore Networks (SCMR), and Talbots (TLB). Keep your browser
for more news as it breaks.
The Fed's Beige Book report for September will hit the Street
today. Thursday features the usual weekly report on jobless claims,
as well as July's trade balance. Crude inventories are also due out
one day later than usual, thanks to Monday's holiday. On Friday,
wholesale inventories for July will round out the week's economic
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange
(CBOE) saw 849,554 call contracts traded on Tuesday, compared to
647,928 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio
arrived at 0.76, while the 21-day moving average was 0.77.
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Stocks in Asia ended solidly higher today, bouncing back from
steep losses in recent sessions. An upbeat GDP report from
Australia helped set the bullish mood, with the country's economy
expanding by a stronger-than-forecast 1.2% during the second
quarter. In the tech sector, shares of Yahoo Japan and Alibaba.com
rallied on news of CEO Carol Bartz's termination. Meanwhile, a
tamer yen lifted Japanese exporters. By the close, South Korea's
Kospi jumped 3.8%, Japan's Nikkei rose 2%, China's Shanghai
Composite tacked on 1.8%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained
European markets are also pointed higher at midday, with traders
pricing in some relief over a German court decision. The country's
Constitutional Court struck down a number of lawsuits intended to
block Germany's involvement in euro-zone bailouts, clearing the
path for cash-strapped countries like Italy and Greece to receive
aid. At last check, the German DAX has added 2.8%, the French CAC
40 is up 2.6%, and London's FTSE 100 is 1.7% higher.
Currencies and Commodities
After strengthening against its foreign rivals on Tuesday, the
greenback has pared its gains this morning, with the U.S. dollar
index down about 0.5%. Elsewhere, crude oil futures have bounced
back from their recent downturn, with the front-month contract last
seen 69 cents, or 0.8%, higher at $86.71 per barrel. Meanwhile,
after tagging a new intraday acme of $1,923.70 an ounce yesterday,
gold futures have continued their late-session slide, with the
malleable metal down $36.70, or almost 2%, to flirt with $1,836.60
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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