skyrocketing to gains of roughly 3% or better
yesterday, the major market indexes are set to take a rally respite
today. It appears speculators are looking to cash in their chips
this morning, after winning big in the wake of yesterday's highly
fiscal plan from the European Union (
. Furthermore, with the initial relief rally out of the way, it
seems Wall Street is now focused on the implementation and
execution of the aforementioned plan, which includes bolstering the
scope of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF). Against
this backdrop, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is trading
close to 42 points below fair value, while the broader S&P 500
Index (SPX) is set to open with a modest drop of roughly 5
In earnings news, Merck (MRK - 34.31) reported third-quarter
earnings of $1.69 billion, or 55 cents per share, up from $342
million, or 11 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding items,
earnings rose to 94 cents from 85 cents per share. Revenue,
meanwhile, jumped 8.1% to $12.02 billion. The results exceeded
expectations, as analysts were anticipating an adjusted per-share
profit of 91 cents on $11.61 billion in sales. Looking ahead, MRK
upped its full-year earnings guidance to a range of $3.72 to $3.76
per share, from its previous projections for a per-share profit of
$3.68 to $3.76. At last check, MRK is headed 1.9% higher.
Las Vegas Sands (LVS - 45.40) reported an adjusted third-quarter
profit of $444.8 million, or 55 cents per share, up from its
year-ago earnings of $265.2 million, or 34 cents per share. Revenue
for the quarter ramped up 26.2% to a record $2.41 billion.
Analysts, on average, were expecting LVS to earn 52 cents per share
on $2.34 billion in revenue. The casino operator attributed the
upside surprise to "stronger results across our portfolio of
properties in the U.S., Macau and at Marina Bay Sands in
Singapore." In pre-market trading, LVS is poised to soar 3.4%.
Elsewhere, Crocs (CROX - 17.00) reported third-quarter earnings
after the close last night. CROX said profit came in at $30.2
million, or 33 cents per share, representing a 20.8% increase over
year-ago earnings of $25 million, or 28 cents per share. Revenue,
meanwhile, jumped 27.5% to $274.9 million. CROX's results came in
stronger than analysts' expectations for earnings of 32 cents per
share on $274.3 million in sales. Looking ahead, the comfortable
footwear concern is projecting fourth-quarter profit of 3 to 5
cents per share on revenue of $200 million to $205 million. Ahead
of the bell, CROX is lingering about 0.3% north of breakeven.
Finally, Electronic Arts (ERTS - 24.50) reported a fiscal
second-quarter loss of $340 million, or $1.03 per share, compared
to a loss of $201 million, or 61 cents per share, in the year-ago
period. Excluding items, the company banked a profit of 5 cents per
share, while adjusted revenue rose 17% to $1.03 billion. Analysts,
on average, were expecting a loss of 4 cents per share on revenue
of $966.6 million. For the third quarter, ERTS raised its
earnings-per-share forecast to a range between 85 cents and 95
cents on adjusted revenue of $1.55 billion to $1.65 billion.
Meanwhile, analysts were predicting a third-quarter profit of 93
cents per share on revenue of $967 million. At last look, ERTS is
set to open with a 4.1% drop.
Today's earnings docket will also feature reports from Chevron (
), Arch Coal (
), Biogen Idec (
), BorgWarner (
), Lear Corp. (LEA), Newmont Mining (NEM), Newell Rubbermaid (NWL),
Pilgrim's Pride (PPC), Provident Financial Services (PFS), and
Weyerhaeuser (WY). Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
The economic agenda wraps up the week with the personal income
and spending figures for September, the government's third-quarter
employment cost index, and the final Thomson Reuters/University of
Michigan consumer sentiment index for October.
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange
(CBOE) saw 1,765,401 call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to
902,824 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio
arrived at 0.51, while the 21-day moving average was 0.69.
Stocks in Asia ended higher today, following suit with blowout
gains on Wall Street. Traders cheered the newly struck European
debt deal, which provided support for exporters across the region.
Meanwhile, Samsung sparked a halo lift for its fellow Korean tech
stocks after unseating Apple as the world's leading maker of
smartphones, with the firm offering an upbeat fourth-quarter
forecast to boot. By the close, Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1.7%,
China's Shanghai Composite gained 1.6%, Japan's Nikkei rose 1.4%,
and South Korea's Kospi tacked on 0.4%.
On the other hand, major European indexes are modestly lower at
midday. After notching healthy gains on Thursday, stocks are easing
back in the wake of an Italian bond auction, which saw 10-year
yields balloon to 6.06% -- the highest rate seen since Italy joined
the euro zone. At last check, the French CAC 40 is off 0.4%,
London's FTSE 100 is down 0.2%, and the German DAX is roughly 0.1%
Currencies and Commodities
The greenback has reclaimed some ground this morning, with the
U.S. dollar index up 0.2% at last check. Crude futures, meanwhile,
have pared their recent gains, with the front-month contract down
$1.62, or 1.7%, to linger near $92.34 per barrel. Finally, gold
futures are backpedaling from five-week highs, with the precious
metal last seen $8.10, or 0.5%, lower at $1,739.60 an ounce.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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