After skyrocketing to a
on Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA ) is set to
end the holiday-shortened week on an even higher note. Fueling the
bullish momentum has been an onslaught of encouraging earnings
reports, with Apple Inc. (
) leading the pack after recording a 95% jump in first-quarter
profit. Meanwhile, a bevy of blue chips are also poised for
earnings-induced gains, with Honeywell (HON), Travelers (TRV), and
General Electric (
) all emerging from the big-cap earnings confessional. Against this
backdrop, the DJIA is trading about 70 points above fair value,
while the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX ) is braced for a 10-point
jump at the opening bell.
In equities news, Apple Inc. (AAPL - 342.41) reported a
first-quarter profit of $5.99 billion, or $6.40 per share, and said
revenue skyrocketed 83% to $2467 billion. The results handily
topped the Street's estimates for earnings of $5.37 per share on
$23.4 billion in sales. The firm said "demand was stunning" for its
iPad 2, and that iPhone sales more than doubled from a year ago.
What's more, the tech titan said it's "extremely happy" with its
progress in China, where iPhone sales are up nearly 250%. At last
check, the shares of AAPL are flirting with a 5% lead.
Elsewhere, Honeywell (HON - 58.74) said first-quarter profit
jumped 44% to $705 million, or 88 cents per share, while net sales
soared 15% to $8.91 billion. Analysts, on average, expected
first-quarter earnings of 82 cents per share on sales of $8.63
billion. In addition, the blue chip upped its current-year adjusted
earnings guidance to between $3.80 and $3.95 per share, compared to
its previous projections for per-share earnings of $3.60 to $3.80.
Ahead of the bell, HON is headed for a gain of around 2.4%.
Meanwhile, fellow blue chip Travelers Companies (TRV - 59.13)
reported a first-quarter profit of $839 million, or $1.92 per
share, on revenue of $6.3 billion. The results exceeded the
Street's forecast, which called for earnings of $1.49 per share on
sales of $5.31 billion. Furthermore, the firm said it's "cautiously
but increasingly optimistic" about its operating environment, and
that its board approved hiking its quarterly dividend by 14% to 41
cents per share. In pre-market trading, TRV is lingering around
Finally, General Electric (GE - 20.40) surpassed analysts'
expectations with its first-quarter results. The conglomerate raked
in a profit of $3.36 billion, or 31 cents per share, while revenue
improved 6% to $38.45 billion. On an adjusted basis, GE earned 33
cents per share. Wall Street's consensus estimates called for a
profit of 28 cents per share on revenue of $34.64 billion.
Additionally, GE raised its quarterly dividend by one penny to 15
cents per share. At last check, the shares of GE are set to gap
about 2.5% higher.
Today's earnings docket will also feature reports from Morgan
Stanley (MS), Capital One Financial (
), Philip Morris (PM), Fifth Third Bancorp (
), and Biogen Idec Inc. (
), just to name a few. Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
We'll wrap up the holiday-shortened week today with weekly
jobless data, the Conference Board's index of leading economic
indicators, and reports on Philadelphia-area manufacturing.
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange
(CBOE) saw 1,534,919 call contracts traded on Wednesday, compared
to 796,745 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call
ratio docked at 0.52 -- the lowest since April 1 -- while the
21-day moving average remained at 0.59.
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magazine is now available here.
Asian stocks ended in the black again today, as investors
celebrated another round of encouraging earnings reports from the
U.S. tech sector. Along with Apple-related stocks like Elpida
Memory and Toshiba Corp., commodity-related equities paced the
advancers amid rising crude oil and gold prices. By the close, the
Shanghai Composite added 0.7%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rallied 1%,
and Japan's Nikkei tacked on a healthy 0.8%. South Korea's Kospi,
meanwhile, soared 1.3% to hit an all-time high.
European markets were also trading notably higher in the wake of
Apple's upbeat earnings report. In addition, Akzo Nobel and
Schneider Electric SA were both garnering positive headlines, with
the former reporting a sharp rise in quarterly profit, and the
latter announcing a notable increase in sales. However, telecom
stocks were struggling thanks to a profit warning from sector peer
KPN NV. At last check, London's FTSE has added 0.3%, France's CAC
40 has advanced 0.7%, and Germany's DAX has soared close to
Currencies and Commodities
After tumbling to a 13-month nadir against the euro on
Wednesday, the greenback has continued its decline, with the U.S.
dollar index down almost 0.7%. Elsewhere, crude futures have
extended yesterday's surge on lingering concerns about supplies. At
last check, the June-dated contract has added 0.5% to flirt with
$112.03 per barrel. In the same vein, gold futures continue to put
the $1,500-an-ounce marker in the rearview mirror. In pre-market
action, the front-month contract has tacked on 0.6% to trade at
$1,507.90 an ounce.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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