The bulls and bears played a tug-of-war on Wednesday, and --
despite a deluge of negative news from home and abroad -- the bulls
emerged victorious. Checking into this morning's activity, it seems
the bulls may be able to take the reins once again, as several
upbeat retail reports have already hit the Street. Meanwhile,
today's reports on weekly jobless claims and ADP payrolls data
could provide additional fuel for the bulls, who seem willing to
rally on any upbeat news. According to the ADP report, the U.S.
private sector added 157,000 jobs last month, easily topping
expectations for a gain of 95,000. Amid this backdrop, all three
major indexes are pointing higher, with futures on the Dow Jones
Industrial Average (DJIA ) trading 36 points north of fair
A. Schulman (SHLM - 25.92) said that its fiscal third-quarter
profit arrived at $18.8 million, or 60 cents per share, down 27%
from its year-ago earnings of $25.8 million, or 91 cents per share.
On an adjusted basis, SHLM earned 65 cents per share, while revenue
jumped 45% to $611.1 million. By contrast, analysts were looking
for a profit of just 64 cents per share on revenue of $548 million.
"Gross profit and operating income improved from a year ago in each
of our three regions as our efforts to focus on a higher-margin
product mix continue to bear fruit in the Americas, Europe and
Asia," said Chairman, President and CEO Joseph M. Gingo.
DragonWave (DRWI - 5.47) swallowed a fiscal first-quarter loss
of $9.9 million, or 28 cents per share, while revenue plummeted 77%
to $11.0 million. Gross margin for the period contracted to 42.0%
from 43.6%. Wall Street was hoping for a slimmer quarterly deficit
of 19 cents per share on $12.2 million in revenue. Looking ahead,
DRWI predicted second-quarter revenue of $12 million to $15
million, falling short of analysts' expectations for $20
After the close on Wednesday, OCZ Technology Group Inc. (OCZ -
8.34) reported a first-quarter profit of a penny per share on
revenue of $73.8 million. Analysts, on average, had expected the
tech firm to report a loss of one cent per share on $69.4 million
in revenue. The company projected revenue between $310 and $345
million for fiscal 2012, surrounding the consensus estimate for
revenue of $325.7 million. OCZ attributed the rise in revenue to an
exponential increase in its core SSD segment sales. The shares have
added 4.2% ahead of the open.
Same-store sales increased 12% in June, Limited Brands Inc. (LTD
- 39.31) reported this morning. The Ohio-based retail concern also
said that total sales jumped 12% to $1.08 billion, from $965.4
million in the year-ago period. Analysts had anticipated LTD to
post a much slimmer same-store increase of 3.8%.
Today's earnings docket will feature reports from Conmed
Healthcare Management (
), Helen of Troy (
), International Speedway (
), Penford Corp. (
), Semileds Corp. (
), WD 40 Co. (WDFC), and Zep Inc. (ZEP). Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
Employment data takes the spotlight today, with the day's docket
featuring ADP's private-sector payrolls report for June, as well as
the Labor Department's usual update on weekly jobless claims. Crude
inventories will also hit the Street one day later than usual, due
to the July 4 holiday. Ahead of Friday's opening bell, all eyes
will be on the Labor Department's nonfarm payrolls report for June.
Later in the session, traders will also hear about May's wholesale
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange
(CBOE) saw 837,411 call contracts traded on Wednesday, compared to
594,613 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio
docked at 0.71, while the 21-day moving average was perched at
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Stocks in China slipped today, as traders had a chance to
respond to the central bank's latest interest-rate increase.
Property stocks led the laggards on the mainland, even as banking
issues rallied in Hong Kong. Tokyo-listed equities were pressured
by news that the government may order stress tests for nuclear
plants, as well as expectations for weak auto profits following the
March earthquake and tsunami. Meanwhile, in Korea, construction and
materials stocks paced the rally after Pyeongchang was selected to
host the 2018 Winter Olympics. By the close, South Korea's Kospi
gained 0.4%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.06%, Japan's Nikkei
dipped 0.1%, and China's Shanghai Composite fell 0.6%.
Central banks are also driving the action in Europe. The Bank of
England opted to stand pat on rates today, but the European Central
Bank announced a quarter-point increase to its main refinancing
rate, marginal lending rate, and deposit facility rate. The move
fell generally in line with expectations, and marks the ECB's
second rate hike this year. Stocks are modestly higher at midday,
with traders keeping their enthusiasm in check ahead of U.S. jobs
data due out later in the session. At last look, the French CAC 40
is up 0.5%, while the German DAX and London's FTSE 100 have each
Currencies and Commodities
Crude oil has rebounded in pre-market trading, adding 0.6 point,
or 0.7%. The dollar, meanwhile, has explored both sides of
breakeven this morning, as anxiety over the highly anticipated rate
decision from the ECB kept buyers on the sidelines. Ahead of the
open, the U.S. dollar index was up 0.02 point, or 0.02%. Finally,
gold has given up a portion of Wednesday's gains, dropping 3.4
points, or 0.2%, to trade at $1,525.80 an ounce.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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