The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA ) extended its retreat on
Wednesday, as Japan's nuclear crisis kept the Street in "sell"
mode. However, the blue chip barometer was the only one of its
peers to remain in the black for the year, with the S&P 500
Index (SPX ) and Nasdaq Composite (COMP ) now harboring
year-to-date deficits of 0.06% and 1.4%, respectively. However,
futures are higher ahead of the bell, with all three major market
indexes poised to rebound from yesterday's drubbing. Fueling the
pre-market optimism is a strong outlook from FedEx Corp. (
) , news that Japan is making progress at its crippled nuclear
plant, as well as an emergency conference call among the Group of
Seven ministers later tonight.
At last check, the Dow was trading more than 150 points above
fair value, the SPX was last seen 11 points higher, while the
tech-rich COMP is poised to open with a gain of roughly 17
In equities news, FedEx Corp. (
) said net profit for the fiscal third quarter fell 3% to $231
million, or 73 cents per share, compared to $239 million, or 76
cents per share, in the year-ago period. Excluding items, FDX
earned 81 cents per share. Revenue, meanwhile, jumped 11% to $9.66
billion. Analysts, on average, predicted per-share earnings of 82
cents per share on sales of $9.61 billion. Looking ahead, the
package delivery concern sees fourth-quarter earnings in a range of
$1.66 per share to $1.83 per share, and projected full-year
adjusted earnings-per-share of $4.83 to $5.00. The guidance came in
above expectations, with the Street estimating fourth-quarter and
full-year per-share earnings of $1.65 and $4.87, respectively.
Meanwhile, Lululemon Athletica (
) unveiled a fourth-quarter profit of $55 million, or 76 cents per
share. Excluding items, LULU earned 64 cents per share, while
revenue climbed 53% to $245.4 million. Wall Street was expecting a
profit of 57 cents per share on revenue of $239.3 million. However,
LULU predicted first-quarter revenue of $175 million to $180
million, just short of analysts' average forecast of $180.6
Finally, Winnebago Industries (
) reported a fiscal second-quarter profit of $3.3 million, or 11
cents per share. Revenue for the quarter dipped slightly to $106.6
million. The bottom-line results were better than expected, with
analysts calling for a profit of 6 cents per share on revenue of
On the earnings front, Ross Stores (
), LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (
), Nike Inc. (NKE), and Shoe Carnival Inc. (SCVL) are slated to
release their quarterly earnings reports. Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
The economic calendar will wind down today 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 1,540,335 call contracts traded on Wednesday, compared
to 1,223,418 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call
ratio jumped to 0.72, while the 21-day moving average edged higher
Trading the News: A Contrarian View.
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Asian markets fell today, after Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Chairman Greg Jaczko said the risk of radiation at Japan's crippled
nuclear power plant was more serious than previously thought.
However, attempts to cool down the reactors sparked optimism,
helping stocks pare their losses by the close. By the time the dust
settled, Japan's Nikkei dropped 1.4%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell
1.8%, and the Shanghai Composite dipped 1.1%.
Elsewhere, European markets were also on the rebound, as traders
await an emergency conference call of the Group of Seven finance
leaders and central-bank governors at 6 p.m. Eastern time. Japan's
finance minister is reportedly expected to explain the country's
earthquake damage, and discuss the financial fallout from the
disaster. At last check, the French CAC 40 was up 0.9%, the German
DAX was up nearly 1%, and London's FTSE 100 was bucking the trend
with a loss of 1.7%.
Currencies and Commodities
The U.S. dollar is poised to give back some of its gains this
morning, as the U.S. Dollar Index was seen down nearly 1% at 75.93.
Elsewhere, crude futures are headed higher; in electronic trading,
the April crude futures contract has added 1.8% to $100.70 per
barrel. Finally, gold futures have also powered into the black,
advancing 0.4% to flirt with the $1,401.40 level.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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