Opening View: U.S. Stock Futures Flat Ahead of GDP, Housing Data


The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) broke above the 11,500 level on Tuesday, marking the first time the Dow has bested this psychologically important region since Sept. 8, 2008. Caution, however, is prevailing in premarket trading, as Wall Street holds its ground ahead of this morning's reports on U.S. third-quarter gross domestic product ( GDP ) and November's existing home sales. In fact, futures on the DJIA and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) are trading flat compared to fair value. Economists are expecting GDP to be revised higher to an annualized growth rate of 2.8% from the prior 2.5% estimate.

Technically, all three of the major U.S. indexes, the DJIA, SPX, and the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) tagged fresh two-year highs on Tuesday. Keep a close eye on the 11,500 and the 1,250 areas for the Dow and the SPX, respectively, as these former areas of resistance could now provide short-term support. Additional support should arise at the 11,450 and 1,245 regions. Look for the DJIA to struggle near 11,600 if today's economic data comes in better than expected, while the 1,275 area could be the next hurdle for the SPX.

In equity news, Navistar International Corp., ( NAV ) reported that its fourth-quarter net income fell 55% to $39 million, or 54 cents per share, from a profit of $86 million, or $1.19 per share, last year. Revenue rose to $3.37 billion from $3.29 billion. Analysts were looking for a profit of 60 cents per share on $3.21 billion in revenue. The current results include charges related to the company's new four-year labor deal with the United Auto Workers. Navistar said that the deal give it a "competitive cost structure across its production platforms," the statement said.

Also, Microsoft Corp., ( MSFT ) will reportedly unveil a version of Windows in January that will be compatible with ARM Holdings plc ( ARMH ) semiconductors, people familiar with Microsoft's plans told Bloomberg News . ARM chips consume less power than Intel Corp. ( INTC ) and Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s (AMD) x86 design, and are more commonly used in smartphones and tablet computers. The move appears to be designed to give Microsoft a larger presence in the fast-growing mobile market.

Earnings Preview

On the earnings front, American Greetings Corp. (AM), Walgreen Company (WAG), Micron Technology Inc. (MU) and Bed, Beth & Beyond Inc. (BBBY) are slated to release their quarterly reports. Keep your browser at for more news as it breaks.

Economic Calendar

The economic calendar includes a smattering of reports today, including the latest estimate on third-quarter gross domestic product, November's existing home sales, and the weekly report on U.S. petroleum supplies. The Commerce Department will report on personal income and spending, durable goods orders, and new home sales for November tomorrow, while the market will be closed for the Christmas holiday on Friday.

Market Statistics

Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 1,251,204 call contracts traded on Tuesday, compared to 665,482 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio arrived at 0.53 while the 21-day moving average held at 0.53.

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

Overseas Trading

Overseas trading has a bearish bias this morning, as only three of the 10 foreign indexes that we track are in positive territory. The cumulative average return on the collective stands at a loss of 0.10%. Asian stocks finished mostly lower, though Chinese stocks finished higher. Refiners led the way higher on the Shanghai Composite, after the National Development and Reform Commission allowed them to raise fuel prices by about 4%. European markets, meanwhile, are treading water near breakeven, as traders brace for the latest update on U.S. third-quarter gross domestic product.

Overseas markets

Currencies and Commodities

The U.S. dollar remained weak in overnight trading, with the greenback edging lower versus both the yen and the euro. At last check, the U.S. Dollar Index was off 0.37% at 80.42. Crude futures have bounced in the wake of the falling dollar, rising 46 cents to $90.28 per barrel. Finally, gold futures continue to hover close to breakeven, rising $1.60 to $1,390.40 an ounce in London.

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 The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: ARMH , GDP , INTC , MSFT , NAV

Schaeffer's Investment Research

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