U.S. stocks are set to follow their global comrades lower once
again today, despite a pledge from the Group of 20 (G-20) finance
ministers. Specifically, the group vowed to do whatever it takes
"to preserve the stability of the banking systems and financial
markets," and to make sure banks have the capital needed to stay
afloat. Nevertheless, it appears Wall Street is taking the G-20
statement with a proverbial grain of salt, with the Dow Jones
Industrial Average (DJIA) bracing for another triple-digit deficit
out of the gate.
In earnings news, Nike (NKE - 84.18) reported a fiscal
first-quarter profit of $645 million, or $1.36 per share, up 15%
from the year-ago quarter. Revenue, meanwhile, increased 18% to
$6.08 billion. The results were better than expected, as analysts,
on average, were anticipating earnings of $1.21 per share on sales
of $5.75 billion. "The better we get at running this offense, the
stronger results we see," said CEO Mark Parker, who said the solid
results just confirm that Nike is a "growth company." At last
check, the shares of NKE are poised to open about 5.4% higher.
Tibco Software (TIBX - 57.48) reported a third-quarter profit of
$23.5 million, or 14 cents per share, up from $17.4 million, or 10
cents per share, in the year-ago period. On an adjusted basis,
earnings rose to 23 cents from 17 cents per share last year.
Analysts had expected a profit of only 21 cents per share. Revenue
rose 24% to $229 million, besting the consensus estimate of $219.9
million. "Once again, we delivered strong growth in revenue and
profitability this quarter, as we continue to see broad-based
demand for TIBCO's event-driven platform," said Chairman and CEO
Vivek Ranadive. In pre-market action, TIBX is headed 3.7%
Finally, Cintas (CTAS - 28.77) revealed a first-quarter profit
of $68.6 million, or 52 cents per share, compared to $61.3 million,
or 40 cents per share, in the year prior. Meanwhile, revenue
increased by 10% to $1.02 billion, from $923.9 million in the
year-ago period. Analysts had predicted a profit of 47 cents per
share on revenue of $996 million. "Our focus on selling profitable
business, managing our cost structure and improving efficiencies
through process improvement continues to drive margin expansion,"
said CEO Scott D. Farmer. Looking ahead, CTAS reaffirmed its fiscal
2012 earnings forecast of $1.97 to $2.05 per share on revenue of $4
billion to $4.1 billion. Meanwhile, analysts predicted annual
earnings of $2.01 per share on revenue of $4.09 billion. Ahead of
the bell, CTAS is set to open with a 1.4% lead.
Today's earnings docket will also feature reports from Finish
) and KB Home (
). Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
There are no major economic reports scheduled for today.
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (
) saw 1,324,954 call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to
1,146,906 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call
ratio arrived at 0.87, while the 21-day moving average was
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Asian markets turned south today, bogged down by the same
macroeconomic concerns that dragged Wall Street to a dramatically
negative finish on Thursday. In South Korea, oil stocks and
shippers swallowed heavy losses on expectations for weaker global
demand, while steel and aluminum issues paced the decliners in Hong
Kong. However, most regional benchmarks ended off their session
lows, after G-20 finance officials released a communiqué vowing "to
preserve the stability of banking systems and financial markets as
required." By the close, South Korea's Kospi lost 5.7%, Hong Kong's
Hang Seng fell 1.4%, and China's Shanghai Composite shed 0.4%.
Markets in Japan are closed for holiday.
Meanwhile, traders in Europe haven't put much stock in the
G-20's pledge to provide support, with regional indexes broadly
lower at midday. Greek banks are a particular pocket of weakness
after a Moody's downgrade, with the ratings agency citing
"significant solvency challenges" for the government. The jittery
mood was exacerbated by comments from the European Central Bank's
Klaas Knot, who told a Dutch newspaper, "I am now less certain in
ruling out a [Greek] default than I was a couple of months ago." At
last check, the German DAX is down 3%, the French CAC 40 is off
2.5%, and London's FTSE 100 is 1.8% lower.
Currencies and Commodities
After skyrocketing on Thursday, the greenback is taking a
breather this morning, with the U.S. dollar index fractionally
lower at last check. Crude futures, on the other hand, have
continued their retreat to multi-week lows, with the front-month
contract down $1.57, or 2%, to trade near $78.94 per barrel.
Likewise, gold futures have also extended their pullback south of
$1,800 an ounce, with the malleable metal last seen $31.70, or
1.8%, lower at $1,710 an ounce.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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