Technically, the DJIA enters March trading above its 10-day
moving average for the first time since Feb. 18. The Dow is also
hovering above potential short-term support at the 12,200 level.
The 12,250 area could create a speed bump early in the session,
while the 12,300 area could pose a significant technical hurdle.
The SPX is also trading above its 10-day and 20-day trendlines,
though the broad-market index is staring up at a potential
near-term sticking point in the 1,330-1,335 region.
In equity news, AutoZone Inc. (
) said that its second-quarter net income rose 20% to $148.1
million, or $3.34 per share, from $123.3 million, or $2.46 per
share, last year. Revenue increased to $1.66 billion from $1.51
billion a year ago. Wall Street was looking for earnings of $3.06
per share on revenue of $1.63 billion, according to
Elsewhere, FBR Capital downgraded natural gas concern Range
Resources Corp. (
) to "market perform" from "outperform." According to analysts at
the brokerage firm, "Though we continue to remain fans of the
assets and management team, we believe that the
lighter-than-expected proceeds from [the] sale of its Barnett
assets and near-term price concerns will keep a lid on near-term
stock price appreciation." FBR Capital had been expecting Range
Resources to sell its Barnett shale assets for $1.4 billion. The
company actually sealed the deal for $900 million.
Finally, Noble Energy Inc. (
) should be in focus this morning, after the company announced that
it received a deep-water drilling permit from U.S. regulators for
the Gulf of Mexico. "This is the first permit issued to resume
drilling activities at a well suspended during the moratorium,"
On the earnings front, Domino's Pizza (
), Hovnanian Enterprises (HOV), and ReneSola (SOL) are slated to
release their quarterly earnings reports. Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
The Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) manufacturing index,
as well as auto sales data for February, are on tap for today.
Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will begin a
two-day tour of Capitol Hill with testimony before the Senate
Banking Committee. The pace picks up tomorrow, with the ADP payroll
report for February, Bernanke's testimony before the House Finance
Committee, the latest Beige Book from the Fed, and the regularly
scheduled update on domestic oil supplies.
Key economic reports on Thursday include weekly jobless claims
and the ISM's nonmanufacturing index for February. On Friday, all
eyes will be on the Labor Department's nonfarm payrolls report for
February, with a Dow Jones survey revealing expectations for an
increase of 192,000 jobs. Later in the session, January's factory
orders will hit the Street.
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange
(CBOE) saw 1,188,095 call contracts traded on Monday, compared to
641,081 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio
arrived at 0.54, while the 21-day moving average held at 0.58.
Trading the News: A Contrarian View.
Check out this special report from Bernie Schaeffer
Overseas trading is mixed this morning, with only six of the 10
foreign indexes that we track in positive territory. The cumulative
average return on the collective stands at a gain of 0.38%. In
Asian trading, India's Sensex has rocketed higher after the
country's federal budget didn't raise excise duties, as expected.
Indian automakers were also broadly higher following news of
better-than-expected February sales. Elsewhere, Chinese stocks
edged higher after Beijing reported that the country's PMI slowed
to 52.2 in February. European markets, meanwhile, are mixed this
morning, with mining stocks heading higher, while banking shares
slipped in sympathy with HSBC Holdings PLC (HBC), which recieved
multiple downgrades following Monday's earnings report.
Currencies and Commodities
The U.S. dollar continues to struggle in premarket trading this
morning, with investors weighing Chinese economic data, turmoil in
the Middle East, and scheduled comments from Fed Chairman Ben
Bernanke. Heading into the open, the U.S. Dollar Index is off 0.06%
at 76.85. Earlier this morning, the index fell to 76.73, its lowest
perch since Nov. 8, 2010. Commodities are modestly higher, with
crude futures up 6 cents at $97.03 per barrel, while gold has added
$8.10 to trade at $1,418 an ounce in London.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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