Opening View: Traders Push Futures Higher Ahead of Housing Data

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If it weren't for some positive tech earnings reports, traders might have slept through Friday's session. However, the stronger-than-expected reports from Oracle ( ORCL ) and Research In Motion Limited ( RIMM ) helped to push the major market indexes higher, lifting the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) above the 10,600 level. The next layer of resistance lies at the 10,700 level, while the 10,500 area should provide some support in the event of a pullback. In trading today, the housing market takes center stage, with the release of the National Association of Home Builders' September housing market index.

Lennar Corp. ( LEN ) announced that it saw a fiscal third-quarter profit of $30 million, or 16 cents a share, compared to a loss of $171.6 million, or 97 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue was up 14% to $825 million. Analysts had expected, on average, a profit of 4 cents per share on revenue of $760.2 million. Revenue from home sales increased 10% in the three months ending Aug. 31, said Lennar, mostly due to a 9% increase in the number of home deliveries.

Meanwhile, Verizon Communications ( VZ ) plans to name Lowell McAdam president and chief operating officer, placing him as heir apparent to Chief Executive Ivan Seidenberg, a person familiar with the situation told The Wall Street Journal. McAdam, 56, heads Verizon Wireless and his appointment highlights the importance of that business to Verizon's future, the Journal reported. In the new post, McAdam would oversee Verizon's wireless and wireline phone operations, its services business, and its technology development.

Earnings Preview

On the earnings front, Discover Financial Services ( DFS ) is slated to release its quarterly earnings report today. Keep your browser at SchaeffersResearch.com for more news as it breaks.

Economic Calendar

The National Association of Home Builders will release its September housing market index this morning, while the Commerce Department will release August data on housing starts and building permits tomorrow morning. On Tuesday afternoon, the Federal Open Market Committee will weigh in shortly after 2 p.m. with its decision on interest rates. We'll get the usual weekly report on U.S. petroleum supplies on Wednesday. The report on new jobless claims will be available early on Thursday, while August existing home sales and leading indicators will arrive after the open. Rounding out the week, durable goods orders for August and new homes sales for August are on tap on Friday.

Market Statistics

Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange ( CBOE ) saw 1,519,394 call contracts traded on Friday, compared to 876,940 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio arrived at 0.58, while the 21-day moving average slipped to 0.60.

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 relatively positive this morning, as seven of the 10 indexes that we follow are in positive territory. The cumulative average return on the group stands at a gain of 0.28%. Trading in Asia finished lower, with Japan closed for a public holiday Monday. Investors stayed on the sidelines amid soft U.S. consumer sentiment and a re-emergence of concerns about euro-zone fiscal health. Meanwhile, Seoul shares finished a tad higher on light trading volume due to the Chuseok holiday this week. Turning to Europe, stocks are higher after four days of losses as investors remain optimistic ahead of Tuesday's Federal Reserve meeting. Meanwhile, K+S is gaining on a media report of Chinese interest in Canada's Potash Corp. ( POT ).

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 $4 at $1,281.50 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 0.29% to trade at 81.16 heading into the open. Finally, crude futures are on the rise, gaining 31 cents to trade at $75.23 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.



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This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: CBOE , DFS , LEN , ORCL , POT , RIMM , VZ

Schaeffer's Investment Research

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