The major market indexes are flirting with breakeven this
morning, as Wall Street awaits Uncle Sam's latest third-quarter
gross domestic product (
) estimates. Furthermore, traders are biding their time ahead of
the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) most recent meeting
minutes, slated for release later this afternoon. In the meantime,
traders are digesting the latest earnings from Hewlett-Packard (
), some upbeat news about the U.S. credit ratings, and Congress'
latest display of ineptitude -- though the supercommittee's
admitted failure last night was seemingly
already priced in to Monday's session
. Against this backdrop, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)
and S&P 500 Index (SPX) are trading modestly north of fair
value, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite (COMP) is headed for a
slight drop out of the gate.
After the close last night, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ - 26.86) said
its fiscal fourth-quarter profit fell 91% to $239 million, or 12
cents per share, from last year's profit of $2.54 billion, or $1.10
per share. On an adjusted basis, HPQ's earnings decreased to $1.17
from $1.33 per share. Revenue, meanwhile, decreased 3.5% to $32.3
billion. The tech giant's results were better than expected, as
Wall Street was calling for a profit of $1.13 per share on $32.05
billion in revenue. Looking ahead, HPQ believes its adjusted
current-quarter earnings will be between 83 cents and 86 cents per
share, while its fiscal 2012 profit will be at least $4 per share.
Analysts are anticipating first-quarter earnings of $1.11 per
share, and a profit of $4.54 per share for the full year.
In other earnings news, Campbell Soup (CPB - 33.61) reported
fiscal first-quarter earnings of $265 million, or 82 cents per
share, compared to its year-ago earnings of $279 million, or 82
cents per share. Revenue dropped 1% to $2.16 billion. The results
were mixed, as Wall Street was looking for a first-quarter profit
of 79 cents per share on revenue of $2.21 billion. Looking ahead,
the soup maker reiterated its fiscal 2012 guidance for adjusted
earnings of $2.35 to $2.54 per share. Analysts, on average, are
calling for a fiscal-year profit of $2.37 per share.
Elsewhere, Jack in the Box (JACK - 20.12) reported a fiscal
fourth-quarter profit of $22.7 million, or 49 cents per share, up
from $4 million, or 7 cents per share, in the year-ago period.
Meanwhile, revenue fell by 10% to $504.2 million. Analysts, on
average, were expecting a profit of 40 cents per share on revenue
of $491.5 million. Looking ahead, JACK is predicting its adjusted
fiscal 2012 earnings to range between 90 cents and $1.10 per share,
falling short of Wall Street's forecast for a full-year profit of
$1.68 per share. The restaurant chain expects overall commodity
costs to rise by about 5% in 2012, with rising inflation applying
notable pressure to first-half results.
Today's earnings docket will also feature reports from Chico's
), LDK Solar (
), Fred's (
), Hormel Foods (HRL), Patterson Companies (PDCO), Signet Jewelers
(SIG), Nuance Communications (NUAN), and Pandora Media (P). Keep
your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
The government's latest GDP estimates will hit the Street today,
as well as a report on business activity in the Richmond Fed
district. Most notably, though, the FOMC meeting minutes are slated
for release at 2 p.m. EST. On Wednesday, Uncle Sam will release its
weekly jobless figures a day early, thanks to the Thanksgiving
holiday on Thursday. In addition, Wall Street will digest the
regularly scheduled crude inventories report, the final Thomson
Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for
November, and monthly data on durable goods orders and personal
incomes and spending. The post-holiday economic calendar is bare on
Friday, when U.S. markets will shut down at 1 p.m. EST.
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange
(CBOE) saw 1,026,042 call contracts traded on Monday, compared to
690,030 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio
arrived at 0.67, while the 21-day moving average was 0.72.
The major Asian benchmarks ended mixed today, as traders
considered new debt drama out of the U.S. The congressional
supercommittee's failure to reach an agreement to trim the federal
deficit contributed to a broadly negative session on Wall Street
Monday, but investors were somewhat relieved after both Moody's and
Standard & Poor's dismissed speculation about a potential U.S.
debt downgrade. In Japan, exporters caught a break as the yen
cooled versus the dollar, but Chinese equities came under pressure
after a central bank official predicted a possible trade deficit in
2012, due to ongoing economic weakness in the U.S. and Europe. By
the close, Japan's Nikkei dipped 0.4%, China's Shanghai Composite
slid 0.1%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.1%, and South Korea's
Kospi rose 0.3%.
Stocks in Europe are modestly higher at midday, as traders seem
relieved that a U.S. debt downgrade could be avoided. Among the
three major ratings agencies, only Fitch noted that it may
downwardly revise its outlook to negative as lawmakers on Capitol
Hill remain at an impasse. However, traders tempered their
enthusiasm after a Spanish bond auction saw yields rising to
14-year highs. At last check, London's FTSE 100 is up 0.4%, the
French CAC 40 has added 0.5%, and the German DAX has gained
Currencies and Commodities
The greenback has pulled back from multi-week highs today, with
the U.S. dollar down 0.3%. On the other hand, crude futures have
bounced back from their recent drubbing, with black gold last seen
1.3% higher at $98.15 per barrel. In the same vein, gold futures
are also on the rebound, with the front-month contract up 1.1% to
trade near $1,696.60 an ounce.
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