Stocks fell for a sixth straight day on Wednesday, as the Street
continued to process Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's
. However, the situation might be looking up today, as several key
reports are set to hit the Street. In addition to the latest
reports on U.S. jobs and trade data, traders are likely keeping an
eye on the European Central Bank (ECB), which is in the midst of
several important rate announcements. Just a few minutes ago, the
financial institution announced that it would be keeping rates
unchanged at 1.25%. Attention now turns to ECB President
Jean-Claude Trichet, who will take the stage at 8:30 a.m. Eastern
time, and is expected to signal a July rate hike. Amid this
backdrop, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA ) are
trading roughly 32 points above fair value.
The J.M. Smucker Company (SJM - 76.39) reported this morning
that its fourth-quarter income arrived at $94.9 million, or 82
cents per share -- significantly lower than its profits of $120.6
million, or $1.01 per share, in the year-ago period. Excluding
items, SJM banked an even fourth-quarter profit of $1.00 per share
-- surpassing the consensus estimate by one penny. SJM said that
its profits were helped by rising food prices, and forecast product
costs rising 25% in the new fiscal year. Ahead of the open, SJM has
In its mid-quarter update, Texas Instruments (TXN - 32.67) cut
its second-quarter earnings forecast to a range between 51 cents
and 55 cents per share, down from its prior view of 52 cents to 60
cents per share. TXN also took a razor to its revenue forecast; the
tech giant now expects second-quarter revenue of $3.36 billion to
$3.50 billion, compared to its earlier guidance of $3.41 billion to
$3.69 billion. "The reductions are due to lower demand from a
single wireless customer where most of our sales are baseband
products," said Ron Slaymaker, TXN's head of investor relations.
), which plummeted last week after lowering its own second-quarter
sales forecast, is TXN's primary baseband client.
Men's Wearhouse (MW - 30.11) banked a first-quarter profit of
$27.4 million, or 52 cents per share, doubling its year-ago
earnings of $13.6 million, or 26 cents per share. On an adjusted
basis, MW earned 53 cents per share, while revenue increased 23% to
$580.4 million. Both figures surpassed analysts' expectations,
which called for a profit of 49 cents per share on revenue of
$577.3 million. Looking ahead, MW predicted second-quarter earnings
of $1.02 to $1.05 per share, topping Wall Street's consensus
estimate of 98 cents per share. The retailer also upped its
full-year profit forecast to a range between $2.04 and $2.12 per
share, compared to the average analyst estimate for 2011 earnings
of $2.05 per share.
Nokia Corp. (NOK - 6.23) said today that Chief Technology
Officer Richard Green will be taking a medical leave of absence. In
an email, a spokesman for the telecommunications concern explained,
"Rich Green is taking a medical leave of absence. During this time
Henry Tirri, head of Nokia Research Center, will be the acting
CTO." This news comes on the heels of a recent profit warning from
NOK, which admitted that it may not make a profit in the second
quarter. As a result, the stock plummeted to a 13-year low. Ahead
of the open, NOK is down 4.7%.
Today's earnings docket will feature reports from Vail Resorts (
), Hoku Corp. (
), National Semiconductor Corp. (
), Rentrak Corporation (
), and SeaChange International (SEAC), to name a few. Keep your
for more news as it breaks.
The government's weekly report on first-time unemployment
filings will hit the Street today, as will the Commerce
Department's wholesale inventories report. Friday will wrap up with
the government's monthly import and export figures.
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange
(CBOE) saw 952,330 call contracts traded on Wednesday, compared to
944,313 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio
docked at 0.99, while the 21-day moving average was perched at
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Stocks in Asia ended mostly lower today, with banking stocks
pacing the declines in Hong Kong and China. Traders may have been
spooked by China Citic Bank Corp.'s plan to raise funds via rights
issues, which sparked concerns about capital requirements for banks
across the mainland. Meanwhile, airlines in the region were
pressured by rebounding crude prices, while automakers struggled in
the face of ongoing weakness in U.S. markets. However, Japan's
benchmark index defied the downside bias to eke out a modest gain.
By the close, Japan's Nikkei was up 0.2%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng
lost 0.2%, South Korea's Kospi shed 0.6%, and China's Shanghai
Composite slipped 1.7%.
Banking stocks are also trekking lower in Europe, as finance
ministers in the region continue to clash over how best to handle
the Greek debt crisis. Central banks are also in focus; the Bank of
England opted to stand pat on rates, while ECB boss Jean-Claude
Trichet is expected to signal a July rate hike in a news conference
today. At last check, London's FTSE 100 was down roughly 1%, the
French CAC 40 has gained 0.08%, and the German DAX has tacked on
Currencies and Commodities
Crude oil futures have continued to barrel into the black this
morning, after Wednesday's surprise announcement that the
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, would not
be changing its quotas. As a result, black gold rallied some 2% on
Wednesday, reclaiming the round-number $100 level in the process.
Ahead of the open, crude futures are up 0.22 point, or 0.22%, to
trade at $100.96. Elsewhere, gold has continued to backpedal, with
futures currently trading 3.3 points, or 0.21%, lower. Finally, the
U.S. dollar index is sitting on fractional losses ahead of the
open, surrendering 0.06 point, or 0.08%.
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