U.S. stocks are poised to extend Wednesday's
today, thanks to persisting concerns about European debt.
Reflecting the collective skepticism, Spain's 10-year bond yields
soared to euro-era highs, and even AAA-rated France has seen its
credit default swaps skyrocket in the wake of a lackluster bond
auction. Against this backdrop, and with
Fitch's contagion warning
still fresh in Wall Street's mind, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
(DJIA) is set to steepen its slide south of 12,000.
In earnings news, Dollar Tree (DLTR - 76.05) said third-quarter
profit soared to $104.5 million, or 87 cents per share, from $93.2
million, or 73 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue, meanwhile,
jumped to $1.6 billion from $1.43 billion. Analysts, on average,
were expecting the discount retailer to earn just 83 cents per
share on sales of $1.58 billion. Looking ahead, DLTR expects
fourth-quarter earnings of $1.50 to $1.57 per share, encompassing
Wall Street's forecast for a per-share profit of $1.54. In
addition, the firm projected full-year earnings of $3.94 to $4.01
per share on sales of $6.57 billion to $6.62 billion. In
comparison, analysts were calling for a 2011 profit of $3.95 per
share on sales of $6.58 billion. At last check, DLTR is set to open
Elsewhere, tech company
(AMAT - 12.47) saw its fiscal fourth-quarter profit drop 2.6% to
$456 million, or 34 cents per share, from $468 million, or 35 cents
per share, in the year-ago period. Excluding items, earnings fell
to 21 cents from 36 cents per share. Revenue slipped 24% to $2.18
billion. The results topped Wall Street's forecast for earnings of
19 cents per share on revenue of $2.15 billion. For the first
quarter of fiscal 2012, AMAT predicts its adjusted earnings in the
range of 8 cents to 16 cents per share, on revenue of $1.85 billion
to $2.07 billion. Analysts are looking for a current-quarter profit
of 17 cents per share on $2.06 billion in revenue. Ahead of the
bell, AMAT is bracing for a 3.4% drop.
Meanwhile, Limited Brands (LTD - 42.97) reported a third-quarter
profit of $94.3 million, or 31 cents per share, a 54% rise from
last year's profit of $61.3 million, or 18 cents per share.
Excluding items, earnings rose 39% to arrive at 25 cents per share.
On a year-over-year basis, net sales increased 9.6% to $2.17
billion. The results came in stronger than forecast, as analysts
were expecting adjusted earnings of 24 cents per share on sales of
$2.16 billion. Looking forward, LTD is projecting adjusted
fourth-quarter earnings to range between $1.28 and $1.43 per share,
and upped its full-year forecast to $2.38 to $2.53 per share. By
comparison, analysts are predicting a fourth-quarter profit of
$1.42 per share, and full-year earnings of $2.04 per share. In
pre-market trading, LTD is headed 2.3% lower.
Finally, Hot Topic (HOTT - 6.52) reported a third-quarter profit
of $3.1 million, or 7 cents per share, compared to $390,000, or 1
cent per share, in the year-ago period. Last year's quarterly
results were impacted by a non-cash impairment charge of 4 cents
per share relating to HOTT's ShockHound assets. Meanwhile, revenue
fell 4% to $175.8 million, while same-store sales declined by 1.6%.
Analysts, on average, were expecting a profit of 7 cents per share
on revenue of $178.6 million. At last look, HOTT is pointed 6.4%
Today's earnings docket will also feature reports from Aruba
), Blue Coat Systems (
), Buckle (
), Children's Place (
), China Sunergy (
), Focus Media Holding (FMCN), Foot Locker (FL), GameStop (GME),
The Gap (GPS), J.M. Smucker (SJM), Marvell Technology Group (MRVL),
Salesforce.com (CRM), Sears Holdings (SHLD), and Williams-Sonoma
(WSM). Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
Today brings us the regularly scheduled weekly report on jobless
claims, the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index, and housing
starts. The economic calendar concludes on Friday with the
Conference Board's index of leading indicators.
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange
(CBOE) saw 866,344 call contracts traded on Wednesday, compared to
646,359 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio
arrived at 0.75, while the 21-day moving average was 0.70.
Asian markets ended mixed today, as growing concerns over a
possible European debt contagion kept most buyers on the sidelines.
However, there were a few bright spots. In Seoul, Hynix
Semiconductor rallied on the heels of a courtroom victory against
Rambus, while TDK paced a tech-sector advance in Tokyo after one of
its subsidiaries inked a supply deal with Western Digital. By the
close, South Korea's Kospi added 1.1%, Japan's Nikkei tacked on
0.2%, China's Shanghai Composite shed 0.2%, and Hong Kong's Hang
Seng gave up 0.8%.
The major European benchmarks are firmly planted in the red at
midday, with traders casting a wary eye on skyrocketing bond
yields. A Spanish auction of 10-year notes saw yields vaulting to
new euro-era highs north of 7%, while French credit default swaps
jumped to a record peak after a less-than-stellar bond offering. At
last check, London's FTSE 100 is 1.8% lower, the French CAC 40 is
down 1.3%, and the German DAX is off 1.2%.
Currencies and Commodities
The greenback is on the rise this morning, with the U.S. dollar
up 0.4%. On the other hand, crude futures have pulled back from
multi-month highs, with the front-month contract down 2% to test
its footing atop the key century mark. Finally, gold futures have
extended their recent retreat, with the malleable metal last seen
1.7% lower at $1,744.70 an ounce.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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