The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) extended its winning
streak to four in a row on Wednesday, as Wall Street cheered a
round of stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings reports.
Expectations for quantitative easing from the Federal Reserve also
played a fairly large role in the advance. Heading into the open
this morning, futures on the DJIA and the S&P 500 Index (SPX)
are trading roughly 23 points and 3 points above fair value,
respectively. Traders appear positive ahead of this morning's
reports on jobless claims and September's producer price index
(PPI), and the DJIA looks poised to do battle with the 11,150 level
once again today. Support for the Dow continues to solidify at the
11,000 level, while a firmer floor resides at the 10,900 level. As
for the SPX, support lies at 1,170, with resistance manifesting at
In equity news, AOL Inc. (
) is discussing a possible buyout offer for Yahoo Inc. (
), according to
The Wall Street Journal
. AOL is in talks with firms including Silver Lake Partners and
Blackstone Group LP (
) about a possible offer. AOL is also mulling a reverse merger with
Yahoo, with the resulting entity possibly becoming a private
company, according to the report.
Elsewhere, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (
) lowered the high end of its capital spending forecast for fiscal
2011 by $1 billion. The retailer now expects capital spending for
the fiscal year to range from $13 billion to $14 billion, while
fiscal 2012 capital spending is projected at $13.5 billion to $14.5
billion. "Overall sales growth is forecasted between 4% and 6%. In
the United States, we will shift more capital toward new stores,
including supercenters and smaller formats," said Charles Holley,
executive vice president.
Also, Apollo Group Inc. (
) announced that its fourth-quarter profit declined to $41 million,
or 28 cents per share. Excluding one-time items, the company would
have reported earnings from continuing operations of $1.31 per
share, as revenue rose to $1.26 billion. Analysts were looking for
a quarterly profit of $1.30 per share on revenue of $1.26 billion.
Additionally, Apollo Group withdrew its business outlook for 2011,
citing increased regulatory uncertainty in its industry.
On the earnings front, Safeway Inc. (SWY), Advanced Micro
Devices Inc. (AMD), Google Inc. (GOOG), J.B. Hunt Transport Service
Inc. (JBHT), and The Progressive Corp. (PGR) will release their
quarterly reports today. Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
Weekly initial jobless claims arrive today, along with the
September producer price index and the August trade balance.
Tomorrow will be busy once again, with the September consumer price
index, retail sales, the New York Fed's Empire State manufacturing
index, and the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index
Equity option activity on the CBOE saw 1,953,116 call contracts
traded on Wednesday, compared to 876,146 put contracts. The
resultant single-session put/call ratio arrived at 0.45, while the
21-day moving average slipped to 0.58.
**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
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Overseas trading is largely positive, as seven of the 10 foreign
indexes that we track are in positive territory. The cumulative
average return on the collective stands at a gain of 0.55%. In
Asia, regional markets rallied following the surprise policy
tightening by Singapore. Shares in Hong Kong, India, Thailand, and
Indonesia all hit 52-week highs, while gold finished at a record
high in the region. Meanwhile, European markets are mixed in early
trading activity, as traders turned hopeful that the U.S. Federal
Reserve would institute another round of quantitative easing.
Currencies and Commodities
The U.S. dollar is under fire this week, and this morning brings
with it a convergence that has the U.S. Dollar Index trading at its
2010 lows. First, Singapore's central bank unexpectedly widened the
trading range for the Singapore dollar, effectively tightening
monetary policy. Meanwhile, the euro has tagged a nine-month high
versus the greenback, while the dollar has plunged to a 15-year low
against the Japanese yen. At last check, the U.S. Dollar Index was
off 0.69% at 76.54. Commodities are continuing to take advantage of
the greenback's weakness, with gold futures jumping $12.10 to
$1,382.60 an ounce in London, while crude futures have added 36
cents to $84.10 per barrel.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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