Opening View: Futures Down Amid Ongoing Greece Stability Concerns


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Not even rumors of an impending Facebook IPO filing can shake investors' pessimism this morning, with futures on all three major indexes pointed south. Ahead of a relatively light day of economic and earnings reports on the home front, Wall Street is turning a weary eye across the pond, where European Union leaders will meet for the first time in 2012 as they continue their efforts to solidify austerity measures throughout the struggling region. Greece and Germany remain in the spotlight, with the two countries engaged in heated discussions over control of the former's budgetary policy. Against this backdrop, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is set for a 71-point drop right out of the gate, while the S&P 500 Index (SPX) is on pace to test its footing atop the 1,300 mark.

Dow, S&P and Nasdaq futures

In earnings news, Wolverine World Wide Inc. (WWW - 37.96) this morning reported a fourth-quarter profit of $23 million, or 47 cents per share, a 10% decline from last year's earnings of $25.6 million, or 52 cents per share. Revenue, meanwhile, rose 5.6% to $406.5 million. The results missed analysts' expectations for earnings of 45 cents per share on $407 million in revenue. Looking ahead, the shoemaker is calling for full-year earnings to fall between $2.60 and $2.70 per share on revenue of $1.49 billion to $1.53 billion. By comparison, analysts are forecasting a profit of $2.71 per share on $1.52 billion in sales.

Elsewhere, in a preliminary fourth-quarter report, Wendy's (WEN - 5.21) said its earnings declined 30% to $4.3 million, or one penny per share, thanks in part to higher commodity costs. Excluding items, WEN banked a profit of 4 cents per share, while revenue increased 5.6% to $615 million. Analysts were looking for earnings of 4 cents per share on $613 million in revenue. For 2012, Wendy's is expecting North American same-store sales growth of 2% to 3%. The stock is down 2.1% ahead of the bell.

Earnings Preview

Today's earnings docket will also feature reports from Hologic ( HOLX ), Haemonetics ( HAE ), Plum Creek Timber ( PCL ), Mindspeed Technologies ( MSPD ), and McKesson ( MCK ). Keep your browser at for more news as it breaks.

Economic Calendar

The economic calendar kicks off today with a report on personal income and spending. Tuesday brings us the latest S&P/Case-Shiller home price index, the Chicago purchasing managers index (PMI), and the Conference Board's consumer confidence report. Employment data starts to trickle in on Wednesday, with the release of ADP's private-sector payrolls report. Also on tap are the ISM's manufacturing index, construction spending, motor vehicle sales, and the usual weekly update on crude inventories. Thursday's docket is relatively light, featuring the regularly scheduled data on weekly jobless claims. Finally, the Labor Department's marquee report on nonfarm payrolls will dominate headlines on Friday, and traders will also digest the latest data on factory orders and the ISM's services index.

Market Statistics

Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 1,215,903 call contracts traded on Friday, compared to 729,346 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio arrived at 0.60, while the 21-day moving average was 0.60.

NYSE and Nasdaq summary

Volatility indices

Overseas Trading

Stocks in Asia ended lower across the board, with traders on the Chinese mainland returning from the Lunar New Year hiatus in a selling mood. Investors had been expecting some kind of policy accommodation out of Beijing during the holiday break, but no new easing measures were implemented. As a result, banks were among the top decliners in China, while exporters sank in Hong Kong and South Korea following a softer-than-expected U.S. GDP reading . By the close, Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.7%, China's Shanghai Composite shed 1.5%, South Korea's Kospi gave up 1.2%, and Japan's Nikkei dipped 0.5%.

The major European benchmarks are also pointed lower at midday, as negotiations continue to drag on between Greece and its private bondholders. While the two parties are said to be near a debt restructuring deal, traders were spooked when German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble hinted that the euro zone could withhold bailout funds from Greece if the country doesn't take concrete steps to address its fiscal crisis. Meanwhile, Spanish and Italian bond yields crept higher after Friday's downgrades from Fitch . At last check, the German DAX is down 0.7%, London's FTSE 100 is off 0.8%, and the French CAC 40 has slipped 1.1%.

Overseas markets

Currencies and Commodities

The U.S. dollar index is trading 0.4% higher this morning, with the greenback last seen at $79.25. Crude oil, meanwhile, is set extend its stay in the red to a second straight session, with the front-month contract down 0.4% at $99.20 per barrel. Looking to pare some of last week's gains, gold futures are down 0.6% at $1,724.80 an ounce at last check.

Currencies and commodities

Unusual Put and Call Activity:

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Unusual options activity - puts

Unusual options activity - calls

Every morning, our research staff analyzes the prior day and the overnight markets, and monitors the morning wires to give you an accurate preview of the day to come. If you enjoyed today's edition of Opening View, sign up here for free daily delivery, straight to your inbox, before the opening bell.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing Options
Referenced Stocks: HAE , HOLX , MCK , MSPD , PCL

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