The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) added about 60 points on
Friday, reclaiming the support of its 10-week moving average. The
broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite
(COMP), however, weren't as fortunate, finishing the week south of
their respective 10-week trendlines for the first time since late
August. As a result, these trendlines will be in focus this week,
as will round-number support at the 12,000 level for the Dow, and
the 1,300 level for the SPX.
Ahead of the bell, stock futures are mixed. The Dow is trading
about 3 points north of fair value, while the SPX is down about 8
points, and the COMP is flirting with a 13-point deficit. (
This article originally reported steeper pre-market losses. We
apologize for the inconvenience.
) It appears many stocks are taking a cue from their overseas
neighbors, with Japan's Nikkei 225 Average logging its worst
single-session performance in more than two years in the wake of
more earthquake-related devastation. On Sunday, the country's prime
minister said it was facing the biggest disaster since World War
In equities news, General Electric (
) has dipped lower in pre-market trading. The company built the
first reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex in
Japan, which malfunctioned as a result of the earthquakes and
tsunami. The blue chip has vowed to donate $5 million to relief
Meanwhile, fellow Dow components Hewlett-Packard (
) and Chevron Corp. (
) will be in focus today, with both companies hosting analyst
Finally, the shares of Lubrizol Corp. (
) are poised to gap about 27% higher, after Warren Buffett's
Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) will buy the lubricant maker for about $9
billion. The cash deal values the company at $135 per share,
representing a healthy 28% premium to LZ's closing price of $105.44
on Friday. "Lubrizol is exactly the sort of company with which we
love to partner," Buffett said in a statement this morning.
On the earnings front, General Steel Holdings (
), Tsakos Energy Navigation (TNP), and American Oriental
Bioengineering (AOB) are slated to release their quarterly earnings
reports. Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
The economic calendar won't kick off until tomorrow, with the
release of the latest New York-region manufacturing data, last
month's import and export figures, the National Association of Home
Builders' monthly housing market index, and the Federal Open Market
Committee's (FOMC) highly anticipated interest rate decision. On
Wednesday, the Street will get word on February's housing starts
and building permits, as well as the latest producer price data and
regularly scheduled crude inventories report. Finally, the economic
calendar will wind down on Thursday with the government's weekly
jobless claims and the Conference Board's index of leading
indicators, as well as the latest data on consumer prices,
industrial production, and manufacturing activity in the
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange
(CBOE) saw 1,010,365 call contracts traded on Friday, compared to
632,206 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio
arrived at 0.63, while the 21-day moving average remained at
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Stocks in Japan staggered lower today, with the Nikkei tumbling
6.2% to record its steepest single-session drop in more than two
years. The sharp decline came even as the Bank of Japan injected a
record 7 trillion yen into the financial system, and voted 8-1 to
increase its asset buying program by 5 trillion yen, in an attempt
to preempt "a deterioration in business sentiment and an increase
in risk aversion in financial markets from adversely affecting
economic activity." Elsewhere in the region, Hong Kong's Hang Seng
added 0.4%, while the Shanghai Composite added 0.1%.
European stocks also showed some weakness, with energy stocks
dipping on concerns that the disaster in Japan could hinder nuclear
project investment. Insurance companies also struggled, as traders
fretted over the potentially high costs of the earthquake cleanup.
London's FTSE 100 Index shed 0.2%, the German DAX gave up 0.9%, and
the French CAC 40 backpedaled 1.2%.
Currencies and Commodities
The U.S. dollar is slightly lower this morning, as the U.S.
Dollar Index was seen lower by 0.33% at 76.53. Elsewhere, crude
futures are also headed lower, testing support at the
psychologically significant century mark. In electronic trading,
the April crude futures contract has fallen $1.81 to $100.54 per
barrel. Finally, gold futures have soared thanks to a flight to
safety. In London, the lead gold futures contract has added $3.40
to flirt with $1,425.80 an ounce.
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