Stocks snapped their six-day losing streak on Thursday, as
traders reacted to a decline in the U.S. trade deficit. After
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's downbeat speech on Tuesday,
investors celebrated news of a narrower trade gap, which seemed to
quell concerns over the health of the global economy. However, this
optimism seems short lived, with futures on all three major indexes
trading lower as the Street awaits today's report on U.S. import
prices. Specifically, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average
(DJIA ) are trading roughly 25 points below fair value, while
S&P 500 Index (SPX ) futures are hovering 3.5 points below fair
Lululemon Athletica inc. (LULU - 86.14) reported this morning
that its first-quarter revenue rose 35% to $186.8 million, blowing
past analysts' prediction for revenue of $181.2 million. Earnings
for the quarter arrived at 46 cents per share, comfortably above
the consensus estimate. The retailer also gave an upbeat outlook
for the second quarter, saying it expected to see profits between
42 and 44 cents per share on revenue of $200 to $205 million. Both
of these projections were easily above the upper end of analysts'
projections -- and as a result, LULU is up over 2% in premarket
National Semiconductor (NSM -24.68) reported a fiscal
fourth-quarter profit of $67.1 million, or 26 cents per share, down
from its year-ago earnings of $79.2 million, or 33 cents per share.
Revenue for the quarter declined 6.1% to $374 million. Analysts, on
average, were anticipating a profit of 27 cents per share on
revenue of $365.1 million. The latest quarter included roughly $14
million in expenses related to the company's planned acquisition by
Texas Instruments (
), which has yet to be approved by NSM shareholders.
Altria Group (MO - 27.46) announced that it will take a one-time
charge of roughly $630 million during the second quarter, after the
IRS disallowed tax benefits related to leveraged lease transactions
from 1996 through 2003. As a result, MO lowered its full-year
diluted earnings forecast to a range between $1.70 and $1.76 per
share, down from its prior view of $2.00 to $2.06 per share.
However, MO backed its guidance for adjusted 2011 earnings of $2.01
to $2.07 per share.
Nokia Corp. (NOK - 6.29) continues to dominate headlines this
morning, as rumors swirl over a potential joint venture for the
Finnish telecom company. In fact, NOK said today that it's
currently talking to several bidders about potential offers for its
Nokia Siemens Networks collaboration with Siemens AG. "As we have
said earlier, there has been unsolicited interest in NSN and we
continue to be in constructive talks with multiple parties," a
Nokia spokesperson told
. Ahead of the open, NOK is down 0.2%, at $6.29.
Finally, Toyota Motor Company (TM - 81.92) warned that it could
see smaller profits for the current fiscal year, due to the effects
of the March disasters. TM reported its full-year figures last
month, but delayed any announcements regarding its outlook. The
Japanese automaker's supply and sales had been hurt by the
earthquake and tsunami that happened earlier this year.
Today's earnings docket will feature a report from AEP
). Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
The government's monthly import and export figures are due out
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (
) saw 828,266 call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to
647,247 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio
docked at 0.78, while the 21-day moving average was perched at
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Asian stocks ended mixed today, as traders weighed softening
economic data out of China against a rebound on Wall Street.
Specifically, Chinese exports rose 19.4% in May on a year-over-year
basis, down substantially from the 29.9% growth recorded in April.
The slower growth may not stop the central bank from tightening
policy yet again, and many traders exercised caution ahead of
inflation data due out next week. Meanwhile, the Bank of Korea
unexpectedly upped its benchmark rate by a quarter-point to 3.25%.
In Hong Kong, stocks suffered their seventh straight losing
session, while Japanese shares followed suit with their U.S.
counterparts, paring much of their intraday gains by the close.
Japan's Nikkei added 0.5%, China's Shanghai Composite tacked on
0.07%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.8%, and South Korea's Kospi
Stocks in Europe have wobbled lower at midday, with Peugeot
pacing a decline in auto stocks on concerns that the company may
shutter a French production facility. However, news that Greece's
Cabinet has approved new austerity measures is keeping losses to a
minimum, particularly after the German parliament passed a
resolution to approve additional aid for the debt-strapped country.
At last check, the German DAX is down about 0.2%, London's FTSE 100
had added 0.8.%, and the French CAC 40 is off 0.6%.
Currencies and Commodities
Crude futures have slipped this morning, effectively snapping a
three-day rally inspired by this week's news from the Organization
of Petroleum Exporting Countries. On Wednesday, OPEC announced that
it would be leaving output quotas unchanged, fueling concerns about
supply. Ahead of the open, crude oil futures were trading 0.92
points, or 0.9%, lower, at $101.01 per barrel. Meanwhile, gold was
in the headlines this morning, as UBS upped its three-month gold
forecast to $1,600 an ounce. The brokerage firm cited the
struggling economy for their raised outlook. "Weakness in global
data is fostering more optimism on gold in the second half of this
year and any downside moves should be limited given concerns about
the economic picture," wrote UBS analyst Edel Tully. Nevertheless,
gold futures have backpedaled slightly in pre-market trading, down
0.1 point, or 0.01%. Finally, ahead of the open, the U.S. dollar
index has added 0.22 point, or 0.29%.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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