Opening View: Tech Results Boost Futures on Expiration Friday


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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) managed to squeeze out a minor gain on Thursday, stopping short at resistance at the 10,600 level, but extending the September rally. Traders received a boost from the better-than-expected initial jobless claims report yesterday. Today, the Street appears encouraged by some positive earnings in the tech sector, although futures are off their morning highs. Meanwhile, we'll also get a look at consumer inflation data first thing this morning. Finally, don't forget that it's triple-witching expiration Friday.

Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ ) announced that it is in advanced talks to buy all the shares of Dutch biopharmaceutical company Crucell that it doesn't already own for around 1.75 billion euros ($2.29 billion). The all-cash deal would be worth 24.75 euros a share, the two companies said in a statement. The price would represent a 58% premium to Thursday's closing price of 15.70 euros. JNJ holds around 17.9% of Crucell's shares through an affiliate.

Research In Motion Ltd. ( RIMM ) saw earnings jump 68% for the second fiscal quarter, crushing the Street estimate. Earnings rolled in at $796.7 million, or $1.46 per share. The company said share buybacks boosted earnings per share by 2 cents for the recent period. Revenue jumped 31% to $4.62 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of $1.36 per share on revenue of $4.49 billion.

Oracle Corp. ( ORCL ) announced that its fiscal first-quarter net income rose to $1.35 billion, or 27 cents a share, from $1.12 billion, or 22 cents a share in the same period last year. The business software giant said revenue for the period ended in August rose 48% to $7.5 billion. Excluding one-time items, Oracle said earnings for the quarter were 42 cents a share. The consensus estimate was for a profit of 36 cents a share, and $7.3 billion in revenue.

Earnings Preview

There are no major earnings reports slated for release today. Keep your browser at for more news as it breaks.

Economic Calendar

We round out the week today with the August consumer price index and the University of Michigan's preliminary look at September consumer sentiment.

Market Statistics

Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange ( CBOE ) saw 1,176,486 call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to 681,683 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio arrived at 0.58, while the 21-day moving average held at 0.61.

Volatility indices

NYSE and Nasdaq summary

**The volume data shown above is from the Nasdaq and NYSE exchanges only. It does not include regional volume activity, which means that other daily volume quotes you see may be higher.**

Dow, S&P and Nasdaq futures

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Overseas Trading

Overseas trading is in the black this morning as eight of the 10 indexes that we track are in positive territory. The cumulative average return on the group stands at a gain of 0.73%. In Asia, stocks closed mostly higher, but China shares sank as investors trimmed positions ahead of long holidays in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, European shares rose, with Carrefour leading retailers higher on a plan to revamp its hypermarkets. Furthermore, miners found strength after copper and gold prices rose.

Overseas markets

Currencies and Commodities

Gold futures are marching higher this morning as they approach yet another record high this week. At last check, gold futures were up $6.70 at $1,280.50 an ounce. Providing lift for the malleable metal is fresh weakness in the U.S. dollar versus its foreign counterparts. The U.S. dollar index has slipped 0.1% to trade at 81.15 heading into the open. Finally, crude futures have bounced back, gaining 56 cents to trade at $75.13 per barrel.

Currencies and commodities

Unusual Put and Call Activity:

For an explanation of how to use this information, check out our Education Center topics on Option Volume and Open Interest Configurations .

Unusual options activity - puts

Unusual options activity - calls

Every morning, our research staff analyzes the prior day and the overnight markets, and monitors the morning wires to give you an accurate preview of the day to come. If you enjoyed today's edition of Opening View, sign up here for free daily delivery, straight to your inbox, before the opening bell.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing Options
Referenced Stocks: CBOE , JNJ , ORCL , RIMM

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