The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed below the 10,000
level yesterday for the first time since July 6, as a late-session
sell-off finally overwhelmed the blue-chip barometer. However, with
second-quarter gross domestic product (
) and a speech from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on tap
later today, the situation could change rather quickly. In fact,
optimism appears to be creeping onto Wall Street, as futures on the
DJIA and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) are trading 25 points and 3
points above fair value, respectively. For support, watch the 9,950
and 9,800 levels for the Dow, and the 1,040 and 1,035 areas for the
SPX. On the upside, 10,100 could be a major sticking point for the
DJIA, while 1,060 remains a short-term ceiling for the SPX.
Finally, keep a close eye on the 28-29 region for the CBOE Market
Volatility Index (VIX), as a breakout above this region could mean
a continued march higher for market volatility.
In equity news, Dell Inc. (
) fired another volley in the bidding war for 3PAR Inc. (PAR),
lifting its bid for a second time in response to a competing bid
from rival Hewlett-Packard Co. (
). Dell's current offer stands at $27 per share in cash for the
data storage company, valuing the firm at $1.8 billion. Late last
night, HPQ raised its offer to $27 per share from $24 per share,
after Dell lifted its initial offer to $24.30 per share from $18
per share. In a separate release, 3PAR accepted Dell's buyout offer
of $27 per share. The deal is expected to close before the end of
Elsewhere, Tiffany & Co. (
) posted a second-quarter profit of $67.7 million, or 53 cents per
share, as sales in the Americas rose 8% to $668.8 million. Wall
Street was expecting earnings of 53 cents per share on sales of
$691.7 million. Looking ahead, Tiffany expects fiscal 2010 earnings
from continuing operations of $2.60 to $2.65 per share, ahead of
analysts' expectations for earnings of $2.59 per share.
Finally, Novell Inc. (
) reported that its fiscal third-quarter net income fell to $15.7
million, or 4 cents per share, as revenue dropped to $199 million.
Excluding special items, Novell said earnings for the period were 6
cents per share. Analysts had expected the company to post earnings
excluding items of 7 cents per share on $201.2 million in
On the earnings front, Frontline Ltd. (
) is scheduled to release its quarterly earnings report today. Keep
your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
We round out the week today with a second look at second-quarter
U.S. gross domestic product and the final reading on the University
of Michigan's August consumer sentiment index.
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (
) saw 814,966 call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to
546,917 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio
arrived at 0.67, while the 21-day moving average held at 0.64.
**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
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Overseas trading has a positive bias this morning, as seven of
the 10 foreign indexes that we track are in positive territory. The
cumulative average return on the collective stands at a gain of
0.10%. In Asia, regional markets advanced despite sentiment
pressures following the Dow's close below 10,000 on Wall Street.
However, Japanese shares recovered following reports the prime
minister may finally directly address the yen's recent surge versus
the U.S. dollar. Trading in Europe, meanwhile, is mixed as regional
indexes attempt to extend Thursday's tentative rebound.
Currencies and Commodities
Equities may be headed higher, but currencies and commodities
are trading close to breakeven ahead of this morning's economic
data. First up, the U.S. Dollar Index is fractionally lower in
pre-market trading, slipping 0.02% to 82.92 at last check.
Meanwhile, crude futures have a positive bias, with the lead
contract up 20 cents at $73.56 per barrel. Finally, gold futures
are up $1.90 at $1,239.60 an ounce in London. Don't expect much
from this trio until second-quarter GDP and Ben Bernanke have their
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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