Stock futures are pointed lower this morning, with the major
market indexes poised to give back some of Tuesday's healthy gains.
Fresh concerns about the Greek fiscal crisis are inspiring a
Street-wide case of jitters, as euro zone finance ministers failed
to reach an agreement on how to handle an additional aid package
for the debt-crippled country. Even more troubling, a trio of
French banks were singled out by Moody's for a downgrade warning,
due to their exposure to Greek debt. Meanwhile, traders are also
bracing for another round of U.S. economic data, with reports on
consumer-level inflation and New York-area manufacturing due out
later this morning.
Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG - 52.34) slashed its full-year profit
and revenue forecast, citing unusually cold and stormy weather
across the U.S. as the culprit. The company now expects fiscal 2011
earnings of $3.10 to $3.20 per share, while sales are expected to
be flat with 2010 levels. Previously, SMG predicted full-year
earnings of $3.60 to $3.70 per share, and year-over-year sales
growth of 4% to 6%. "Clearly, we're disappointed with how the
season has turned out. The breadth and length of the unfavorable
weather patterns has been unusually challenging and we simply don't
have enough time left in the season to offset that impact," said
Chairman and CEO Jim Hagedorn in a statement. Ahead of the open,
SMG is down nearly 5%.
Retailer Tuesday Morning (TUES - 4.65) also trimmed its
full-year financial guidance, with CEO Kathleen Mason explaining,
"Food and fuel inflation, combined with the challenging housing
market, has affected our customers' disposable income." TUES now
anticipates 2011 earnings of 25 cents to 30 cents per share, with
sales ranging between $820 million and $830 million. Same-store
sales are now expected to be "slightly negative." Previously, the
retailer had predicted a full-year profit of 30 cents to 34 cents
per share on $830 million to $836 million in revenue. This is the
second time this year TUES has cut its fiscal-year forecast, with
the last downward revision occurring in April. At last check, the
stock has shed about 5.4% in electronic trading.
Korn/Ferry International (KFY - 21.52) reported an adjusted
fourth-quarter profit of 39 cents per share, surpassing analysts'
expectations for 32 cents per share. Fee revenue for the quarter
arrived at $197.3 million, while analysts, on average, were
anticipating quarterly revenue of $191.0 million. For the first
quarter, KFY predicted earnings of 30 cents to 36 cents per share
on fee revenue of $190 million to $205 million. KFY is set to open
on a gain of about 10% this morning.
Today's earnings docket will feature reports from Finisar
) and WSP Holdings (
). Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
As usual, we'll hear the weekly update on domestic petroleum
inventories today. Also scheduled are May's consumer price index (
), the Empire State manufacturing index for June, and reports on
industrial production and capacity utilization. On Thursday, the
Labor Department will release the latest data on weekly jobless
claims. Also, we'll hear reports on May's housing starts and
building permits, and the Philly Fed index for June. Finally, we'll
finish the week with the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer
confidence index for June, as well as the Conference Board's
leading economic indicators for May.
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (
) saw 897,458 call contracts traded on Tuesday, compared to 591,109
put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio docked
at 0.66, while the 21-day moving average was perched at 0.71.
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Stocks in Asia ended mixed today, as the latest
policy-tightening move from Beijing pressured banks in China and
Hong Kong. Property developers were also a pocket of weakness,
after Standard & Poor's warned of a potential downgrade for the
group. On the other hand, well-received U.S. retail data provided a
minor lift for Tokyo-listed shares, as did progress on a
compensation plan for those affected by the Fukushima Daiichi
nuclear crisis. Meanwhile, airlines and shipping stocks spearheaded
a minor advance in Korea. By the close, South Korea's Kospi added
0.5%, Japan's Nikkei tacked on 0.3%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost
0.7%, and China's Shanghai Composite gave up 0.9%.
A possible ratings downgrade is also weighing heavily on
European markets, after Moody's issued a cautious note regarding
the Greek debt exposure of French banks BNP Paribas, Societe
Generale, and Credit Agricole. A failure by euro zone finance
ministers on Tuesday to reach an accord over how to handle the
Greek debt crisis is also sparking anxiety, as irate citizens of
the cash-strapped country prepare for public demonstrations in
Athens tonight. At last check, the French CAC 40 was off 0.8%, the
German DAX declined 0.8%, and London's FTSE 100 added 0.5%.
Currencies and Commodities
European officials met on Tuesday to discuss a second aid
package for debt-stricken Greece, but were unable to come to a
decision. As a result, the euro is currently down 1.1% -- and the
dollar has coincidentally enjoyed a nice boost. In pre-market
trading, the U.S. dollar index has added 0.66 point, or 0.9%.
Meanwhile, crude oil has continued its recent slide, down 0.5
points, or 0.5%, at last check. Similarly, gold futures are trading
lower this morning, down 5.8 points, or 0.4%.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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