Opening View: U.S. Stock Futures Flat Ahead of Holiday Break

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) rose to a fresh two-year high on Wednesday, even as light volume hinted that most of Wall Street is already on Christmas vacation. We could see more of the same today, though there are several economic reports, including durable goods, new home sales, jobless claims, and consumer sentiment, that could pull some traders briefly back to their desks. Heading into the open, however, very little activity is apparent, as futures on the DJIA and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) are trading flat with breakeven.

Technically, the DJIA may have a modicum of short-term support at the freshly claimed 11,550 level, while the 11,500 area should contain any modest pullback today. Resistance lies at the 11,600 level for the Dow. As for the SPX, support lies in the 1,250-1,255 area, while resistance looms above in the 1,260-1,265 region. Finally, sentiment among options traders is near a bullish extreme on the Chicago Board Options Exchange ( CBOE ), as the 21-day moving average of the single-session, equity-only put/call ratio has tagged its lowest level since May 6.

In equity news, Bed Bath & Beyond ( BBBY ) posted a third-quarter profit of $188.6 million, or 74 cents per share, up from $151.3 million, or 58 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Sales rose 11.1% to $2.19 billion. Analysts were looking for earnings of 66 cents per share on revenue of $2.1 billion. Looking ahead, BBBY forecast full-year earnings of $2.86 to $2.90 per share, compared to Wall Street's view for a profit of $2.82 per share. The company also said that its board authorized a new $2 billion share repurchase program.

Also, Micron Technology Inc. ( MU ) reported first-quarter earnings of $155 million, or 15 cents per share, compared to earnings of $204 million, or 23 cents per share, for the same period last year. Revenue grew 29% to $2.3 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of 29 cents per share on revenue of $2.38 billion.

Earnings Preview

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

Economic Calendar

The Commerce Department will report on personal income and spending, durable goods orders, and new home sales for November today, while the University of Michigan will offer up its consumer sentiment index for December. We'll also get the weekly look at new jobless claims. The market will be closed tomorrow for the Christmas holiday.

Market Statistics

Equity option activity on the CBOE saw 1,186,623 call contracts traded on Wednesday, compared to 587,676 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio arrived at 0.50 while the 21-day moving average slipped to 0.52.

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 looks weak this morning, as only two of the 10 foreign indexes that we track are in positive territory. The cumulative average return on the collective stands at a loss of 0.23%. In Asian trading, regional indexes finished mixed amid thin holiday volume. with merger and acquisition activity pushing Australian stocks to a six-week high. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday. Trading was thin in Europe, as well, with the banking sector keeping a close eye on Allied Irish Banks plc after the stock plunged amid expectations for a major government cash injection.

Overseas markets

Currencies and Commodities

The U.S. dollar continued to hover above support in the 80-80.50 in overnight trading, despite the greenback slipping slightly versus the euro and the yen. At last check, the U.S. Dollar Index was off 0.17% at 80.59. Crude futures have extended their move into two-year high territory, adding 11 cents to $90.59 per barrel. Finally, gold futures have slipped $3.60 to trade at $1,383.80 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: BBBY , CBOE , MU

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