Despite several attempts to break into the black on Thursday,
the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA ) couldn't overcome a
disappointing weekly unemployment report and a batch of lackluster
retail sales data. Ahead of the bell this morning, buyers are once
again sitting on the sidelines, as the bulls exercise caution ahead
of today's highly anticipated nonfarm payrolls report from Uncle
Sam. Economists have been scaling back their expectations
throughout the week, after the aforementioned jobless report and
Wednesday's unimpressive private-sector data from ADP struck an
ominous tone on the Street. At last check, the Dow is trading about
28.5 points below fair value, while the S&P 500 Index (SPX ) is
set to open with a 3.2-point drop.
In equities news, Newell Rubbermaid (NWL - 16.97) slashed its
full-year forecast thanks to weak consumer spending trends and
unfavorable economic conditions. The firm now expects 2011 earnings
of $1.60 to $1.67 per share on a 3% to 4% increase in core revenue,
compared to its previous guidance for a per-share profit of $1.67
to $1.70 on core sales growth of 4% to 5%. Analysts, on average,
were calling for full-year earnings of $1.69 per share. The lowered
expectations of the company's large retail customers "are impacting
customer ordering patterns and, as a result, we think it prudent to
reflect those assumptions for lower growth in our own sales
projections for the year," said President and CEO Mark Ketchum. At
last check, NWL is set to start the session about 6% lower.
Meanwhile, Verifone Systems (PAY - 47.14) banked a fiscal
second-quarter profit of $25.2 million, or 27 cents per share, up
25% on a year-over-year basis. Excluding items, earnings arrived at
46 cents per share, while revenue rose 22% to $292.4 million. The
results crushed Wall Street's expectations, which called for
earnings of 43 cents per share on $284.7 million in revenue. Plus,
PAY also hiked its full-year earnings forecast. The company now
expects a 2011 profit of $1.80 to $1.83 per share on revenue of
$1.17 billion to $1.18 billion. Analysts, by comparison, are
looking for a full-year profit of $1.81 per share on $1.17 billion
in revenue. In pre-market action, PAY is down roughly 0.2%.
Elsewhere, Quiksilver Inc. (ZQK - 6.09) swung to a fiscal
second-quarter loss of $83.3 million, or 51 cents per share, from a
year-ago profit of $9.42 million, or 6 cents per share. Excluding
items, the sports outfitter earned 9 cents per share, while revenue
jumped 2.1% to $478.1 million -- its first annual sales jump in
three years. Analysts, on average, were expecting an adjusted
quarterly profit of 7 cents per share on sales of $472.6 million.
Ahead of the bell, ZQK has shot close to 11.9% higher.
Finally, Diamond Foods (DMND - 71.35) swung to a fiscal
third-quarter profit of $7.7 million, or 34 cents per share, from a
year-earlier loss of $4.3 million, or 22 cents per share. On an
adjusted basis, DMND raked in a profit of 52 cents per share, while
revenue skyrocketed 61% to $223 million. The results beat the
Street's estimates for earnings of 48 cents per share on sales of
$216.6 million. For the current quarter, the company projected
earnings of 40 cents to 44 cents per share on sales of $210 million
to $220 million, falling short of analysts' expectations for a
per-share profit of 48 cents on revenue of $211 million. However,
DMND upwardly revised its fiscal-year earnings forecast above the
Street's predictions, and offered stronger-than-expected fiscal
2012 guidance. At last look, DMND is poised to open with a 1.6%
Today's earnings docket will feature reports from American
) and Blyth Inc. (
), to name a few. Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
The economic calendar goes out with a bang today, with the
highly anticipated release of Uncle Sam's nonfarm payrolls
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (
) saw 832,916 call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to
602,660 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio
docked at 0.72, while the 21-day moving average inched higher to
0.66 -- the highest since July 8, 2010.
The spring 2011 issue of
magazine is now available here.
Asian markets closed mostly lower today, thanks in part to
anxiety over today's U.S. employment data. In Japan, Sony slipped
on reports of another potential security breach, while Tokyo
Electric Power took a dive as political upheaval created fresh
uncertainty about a post-nuclear crisis compensation plan. In Hong
Kong and China, traders are bracing for a potential
policy-tightening announcement over the long holiday weekend, as
the central bank has made a habit of timing such moves to coincide
with market holidays. However, bargain-hunting helped stocks in
Shanghai climb out of the red. By the close, Hong Kong's Hang Seng
dropped 1.3%, Japan's Nikkei shed 0.7%, South Korea's Kospi
declined 0.03%, and China's Shanghai Composite added 0.8%.
Anxiety over U.S. jobs data is also pressuring stocks in Europe,
offsetting news of a potential aid agreement for Greece. According
to reports, European finance ministers have agreed in principle to
the terms of an additional bailout plan for the debt-strapped
country. Traders are also weighing data showing slower growth in
the U.K. services sector, as well as a drop in business confidence
during the month of May. At last check, the French CAC 40 is off
0.1%, London's FTSE 100 is fractionally higher, and the German DAX
is up 0.3%.
Currencies and Commodities
The greenback has continued its retreat this morning, with the
U.S. dollar index fractionally lower. Elsewhere, black gold has
given up yesterday's modest gains, breaching the century mark in
pre-market trading. At last check, the front-month contract has
shed 89 cents, or almost 0.9%, to linger near $99.51 per barrel.
Meanwhile, gold futures have extended their pullback, with the
front-month contract surrendering $5.40, or nearly 0.4%, to trade
around $1,527.30 an ounce.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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