Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and the
S&P 500 Index (SPX) are trading relatively flat versus fair
value this morning, as Wall Street is on pins and needles ahead of
today's December employment data. Economists expect that the U.S.
economy created 175,000 jobs in December, up from an earlier
prediction of 143,000. The unemployment rate is expected to hold
steady at 9.8%. Given stocks' run higher heading into the report
(the SPX is up about 1.3% in January), investors may have already
priced in strong employment data.
Technically, the DJIA is currently trading between short-term
support/resistance at the 11,650 and 11,750 levels. The Dow has
additional support at the 11,600 level, should things turn sour
following the jobs data, while the 11,800 area will be tough to
overcome. As for the SPX, the index is facing resistance at the
1,280 level, with support in the 1,270 area. A more solid backstop
should emerge near 1,260 if selling pressure emerges.
In equity news, Liz Claiborne (
) said that its fourth-quarter financial results will miss its
previously announced targets. That would place second-half
operating income up by between $40 million and $50 million, below
the previously stated target of $80 million.
Finally, Immucor Inc. (
) posted a fiscal second-quarter profit of $21.1 million, or 30
cents per share, up from $19.7 million, or 28 cents per share, in
the year-ago period. Sales for the quarter 1% to $81.5 million.
Analysts were expecting earnings of 27 cents per share on revenue
of $80.3 million.
On the earnings front, AZZ Incorporated (
) and Robbins & Myers Inc. (
) are slated to release their quarterly reports. Keep your browser
for more news as it breaks.
The much-anticipated December nonfarm payrolls report and the
unemployment rate will arrive later this morning.
Equity option activity on the CBOE saw 1,832,584 call contracts
traded on Thursday, compared to 886,709 put contracts. The
resultant single-session put/call ratio arrived at 0.48, while the
21-day moving average held at 0.51.
**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
Overseas trading is mixed this morning, with only half of the 10
foreign indexes that we track in positive territory. The cumulative
average return on the collective stands at a loss of 0.37%. Asian
trading was mixed once again, with Japanese stocks rallying on
strength from exporters, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng snapped a
seven-session winning streak. In Europe, debt concerns once again
plagued trading, ahead of an upcoming bond issuance by Portugal,
and the ongoing political stalemate in Belgium.
Currencies and Commodities
Driven by Wall Street's elevated expectations for a strong
December jobs report, the U.S. dollar has risen versus most of its
major foreign competitors this morning, posting notable gains
against the euro and the yen. At last check, the U.S. Dollar Index
was up 0.21% at 80.96. Crude futures are following the dollar
higher, rising 33 cents to $88.71 per barrel on hopes for and
improving economic outlook. However, metals are not joining in the
rally, with gold futures dropping $13.60 to $1,358.10 an ounce in
London. Sliver futures are leading the decline, plunging 66 cents,
or 2.27%, to $28.47 an ounce.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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