This week wraps up with the ISM manufacturing index and The
Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for June --
two key reports which could push the major market indexes to weekly
victories. U.S. stocks rallied on Thursday following another
victory in Greece and an upbeat manufacturing report from the home
front. However, ahead of today's events, it seems that investors
are marking time, with futures trading right around breakeven.
Specifically, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA )
are trading about 13.7 points north of fair value, while futures on
the S&P 500 Index (SPX ) are down 0.5 point.
Apollo Group (APOL - 43.68) raked in a fiscal third-quarter
profit of $212.4 million, or $1.51 per share, down from its
year-ago earnings of $179.3 million, or $1.18 per share. Excluding
items, earnings from continuing operations checked in at $1.45 per
share, while revenue slipped 7.6% to $1.24 billion. However, the
results surpassed analysts' expectations, which called for a profit
of just $1.33 per share on $1.2 billion in revenue.
Smith & Wesson (SWHC - 3.00) confessed that its fiscal
fourth-quarter profit plunged 57% to $1.14 million, or 2 cents per
share, even as net sales rose 7.7% to a record $111.8 million.
Operating expenses for the quarter jumped to $28.4 million from
$23.7 million on a year-over-year basis, due to higher legal
expenses and downsizing costs. For the current quarter, SWHC
anticipates sales of $92 million to $95 million, falling short of
the consensus estimate of $98 million. SWHC has jumped 3.3% higher
in pre-market trading.
Xyratex Ltd. (XRTX - 10.26) swallowed a fiscal second-quarter
loss of $4.6 million, or 15 cents per share, down substantially
from a profit of $43.7 million, or $1.39 per share, in the same
quarter of 2010. On an adjusted basis, XRTX lost 6 cents per share.
Meanwhile, revenue tumbled 26% to $338.5 million. Wall Street was
betting on the firm to break even on a per-share basis, with
revenue expected to weigh in at a slightly healthier $339.5
million. For the third quarter, XRTX predicted a profit of 1 penny
to 19 cents per share, with revenue ranging between $336 million
and $376 million. Analysts, on average, were looking for
third-quarter earnings of 21 cents per share on $350 million in
revenue. Ahead of the open, XRTX was down 5.5%.
Finally, Research In Motion Limited (RIMM - 28.85) announced on
Thursday that it will form a committee of independent directors in
order to review its management structure. NEI Investments, RIMM's
institutional shareholder, had proposed for RIMM to divide the
roles of CEO and chairman. The company said it will appoint a
committee of independent directors to study the issue and make a
recommendation to the board. The smartphone stock has been
struggling in 2011, shedding over 50% of its value
Today's earnings docket will feature a report from Rada
Electronic Industries (
). Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
The week wraps up with the ISM manufacturing index, the final
Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for June,
May's construction spending report, and auto and truck sales for
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (
) saw 1,038,101 call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to
563,066 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio
docked at 0.54, while the 21-day moving average was perched at
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Markets in Asia ended mixed today, with gains in Tokyo and Seoul
contrasting with a minor loss in Shanghai. Automakers led the
charge in Korea, as sector peers Kia and Hyundai reported healthy
sales for the month of June. Meanwhile, in Japan, a corporate
sentiment survey came in weaker than expected -- but the data also
showed that business conditions are expected to improve over the
near term. On the other hand, traders in China were disappointed by
a pair of weak reports on manufacturing activity, which rekindled
concerns about a sudden slowdown in growth for the key emerging
market. By the close, South Korea's Kospi climbed 1.2%, Japan's
Nikkei rose 0.5%, and China's Shanghai Composite slipped 0.1%. Hong
Kong's Hang Seng is closed for holiday.
Stocks in Europe are testing the waters around breakeven at
midday, as investors catch their collective breath after two days
of solid Greece-related gains. Unlike their Korean counterparts,
auto stocks in the region are showing some weakness, pressured by a
French report showing a double-digit percentage decline in new car
registrations last month. Plus, traders seem unwilling to make any
major moves ahead of U.S. manufacturing and sentiment data due out
later this morning. At last look, London's FTSE 100 is up 0.3%, the
German DAX has slipped 0.01%, and French CAC 40 is down 0.1%.
Currencies and Commodities
The dollar has gained ground against its peers this morning,
adding 0.1 point, or 0.2%, ahead of the open. The greenback
advanced on Thursday following a round of robust economic data from
the home front. With a stronger dollar generally comes a weaker
demand for dollar-denominated commodities, which is what we're
seeing this morning. At last check, crude oil had given up a
portion of Thursday's gains, shedding 0.7 point, or 0.7%, in
pre-market trading. Meanwhile, gold futures have surrendered 12.3
points, or 0.8%, this morning.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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