Stocks are ready to extend Tuesday's rally, taking a cue from
markets in Japan and across the pond. On the earnings stage, the
Street is celebrating the latest figures from Family Dollar Stores
(FDO - 52.40), which reported solid quarterly earnings and upped
the low end of its full-year guidance. Meanwhile, Valeant
Pharmaceuticals (VRX - 44.39) and Cephalon (CEPH - 58.75) are also
in the spotlight, after the former drug maker made a hostile bid
for the latter. However, the looming ADP employment report will be
front and center, with investors hoping for encouraging data ahead
of Friday's highly anticipated nonfarm payrolls report. Ahead of
the bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA ) is up about 66
points, while the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX ) is flirting with
a 9.3-point lead.
On the earnings front, Family Dollar Stores (
) is in the spotlight this morning, after announcing a fiscal
second-quarter profit of $123.2 million, or 98 cents per share,
beating analysts' estimates by a penny per share. For the current
quarter, the discount retailer projected a profit of 92 cents to 97
cents per share, in line with the Street's forecast for per-share
earnings of 94 cents. In addition, the company lifted the low end
of its full-year earnings guidance by 5 cents per share, to a range
of $3.13 to $3.23 per share. For 2011, analysts polled by Thomson
Reuters are calling for a profit of $3.12 per share. Ahead of the
bell, the shares of FDO are up about 1.4%.
Meanwhile, Tibco Software (TIBX - 26.27) last night said
first-quarter net profit jumped 53% to about $16 million, or 9
cents per share. Excluding items, the firm posted a profit of 16
cents per share, beating analysts' expectations by a penny.
Revenue, meanwhile, grew 20% to $185.3 million, exceeding the
Street's estimate for sales of $182.7 million. Furthermore, the
software maker forecast an adjusted second-quarter profit of 17 to
18 cents per share -- on the low end of the Street's projections
for per-share earnings of 18 cents -- and said it anticipates
second-quarter revenue of $195 million to $200 million, compared to
analysts' expectations for quarterly sales of $195 million. At last
check, TIBX has given up 1%.
Finally, Valeant Pharmaceuticals (
) last night made a hostile bid for Cephalon (
). More specifically, the biopharmaceutical firm's all-cash offer
of $73 per share, which values Cephalon at $5.7 billion, represents
a 24.5% premium to CEPH's settlement price of $58.75 on Tuesday.
Cephalon said it's considering Valeant's offer, and advised
shareholders to wait for a response from the board. In pre-market
action, the shares of VRX have added roughly 16.7%, while CEPH was
trading more than 30% higher.
The earnings calendar will feature reports from Acuity Brands (
) and The Mosaic Company (
). Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
Today's economic calendar features the regularly scheduled
update on crude inventories, as well as ADP's employment report for
March -- which will be eyed as a potential preview of Friday's
headline jobs number. On Thursday, we'll hear reports on weekly
jobless claims, the Chicago purchasing managers index (PMI) for
March, and factory orders for February. The Labor Department will
take center stage ahead of Friday's open with its March nonfarm
payrolls report. Consensus estimates are calling for an increase of
192,000, according to Dow Jones. Also on tap are construction
spending for February, the ISM's manufacturing index, and domestic
auto sales data for March.
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange
(CBOE) saw 1,029,712 call contracts traded on Tuesday, compared to
561,462 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio
fell to 0.55, while the 21-day moving average was flat at 0.62.
Trading the News: A Contrarian View.
Check out this special report from Bernie Schaeffer
A weaker yen helped Japanese stocks higher today, with exporters
like Honda Motor (HMC) pacing the advancers. In addition, Hitachi
Ltd. (HIT) skyrocketed more than 8.5% amid expectations for its
Chiba Prefecture plant to return to full production sometime next
month. By the close, Japan's Nikkei index soared 2.6%, while Hong
Kong's Hang Seng added 1.7%. China's Shanghai Composite bucked the
trend, surrendering almost 0.1% as housing and coal stocks pulled
European markets were also in the black, with mining stocks
blazing the path higher in London. Elsewhere, signs that
post-earthquake production will resume soon helped France- and
Germany-based automakers higher, with BMW tacking on nearly 2%. At
last check, the FTSE 100 has advanced 0.5%, France's CAC 40 is up
0.9%, and Germany's DAX has soared 1.6%.
Currencies and Commodities
The U.S. dollar is relatively flat this morning, as the U.S.
Dollar Index was seen hovering around 76.25. Elsewhere, crude
futures are trading slightly lower, giving back some of Tuesday's
gains. In electronic trading, the May crude futures contract has
fallen about 0.4% to flirt with $104.34 per barrel. Finally, gold
futures have bounced back, adding 0.2% to linger near $1,420.70 an
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