The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) battled higher on
Friday, closing the week on a positive note despite a mixed January
jobs report. That positive bias appears to have held over the
weekend, as futures on the DJIA and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) are
trading roughly 27.8 points and 2.7 points above fair value,
respectively. Monday merger and acquisition activity and another
round of corporate earnings are driving investor sentiment heading
into the open, pushing the DJIA and the SPX further above key
Technically, the DJIA is poised to topple the 12,100 level this
morning, following last week's breakout above the 12,000 mark. From
a short-term perspective, the Dow could find some turbulence in the
12,100-12,150 region, while 12,200 could be the next potential
ceiling. As for the SPX, the broad-market index is set to open
above the 1,310 level, which should now provide short-term support.
Resistance, meanwhile, lies in the 1,320-1,325 region.
In earnings news, Hasbro Inc. (
) reported fourth-quarter net income of $140 million, or 99 cents
per share, as revenue fell to $1.28 billion. Analysts were
expecting earnings of 96 cents per share. Brian Goldner, Hasbro's
president and chief executive, noted that 2011 "will be the first
full year in which we have significant initiatives across all the
elements of our multiyear branded-play strategy."
Elsewhere, Chesapeake Energy Corp. (
) announced that it is selling its Fayetteville shale assets, and
its equity stakes in Frac Tech Holdings LLC and Chaparral Energy
Inc. for an anticipated $5 billion. The move is part of the
company's plan to cut long-term debt by 25% in 2011 to 2012.
Finally, AOL Inc. (
) said that is has agreed to acquire The Huffington Post for $315
million. The deal, which has been approved by the both boards, is
said to be an attempt to create a content group "for the digital
age -- leveraged across online, mobile, tablet and video
platforms," the two companies said in a statement. As part of the
deal, Co-founder and Editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington will be
named President and Editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media
Group, which will integrate all Huffington Post and AOL
On the earnings front, Humana Inc. (
), Loews Corp. (
), Lorillard Inc. (LO), Sysco Corp. (SYY), FMC Corp. (FMC) and
Gartner Inc. (IT) are slated to release their quarterly earnings
reports today. Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
There are no major economic reports scheduled today or tomorrow.
On Wednesday, the usual weekly report on crude inventories will
arrive, while weekly initial jobless claims will arrive on
Thursday. Finally, the December trade deficit will be joined by the
University of Michigan's initial consumer sentiment index for
Equity option activity on the CBOE saw 1,381,843 call contracts
traded on Friday, compared to 888,221 put contracts. The resultant
single-session put/call ratio arrived at 0.64, while the 21-day
moving average rose to 0.54.
**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
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Overseas trading is mostly higher this morning, with seven of
the 10 foreign indexes that we track in positive territory. The
cumulative average return on the collective stands at a gain of
0.19%. Asian markets are trading mostly higher, with Japan's Nikkei
leading the way as exporters rally on a weaker yen. Hong Kong's
Hang Seng plunged nearly 1.5% after the index resumed trading
following a holiday break. Speaking of which, markets in China,
Taiwan, and Vietnam remained closed due to last week's Lunar New
Year holiday. Across the pond in Europe, banks are leading the way
higher, setting a positive tone early in the trading session.
Currencies and Commodities
The U.S. dollar continues to benefit from a safe-haven bid this
morning, with currency traders favoring the greenback over the
Japanese yen. What's more, the Egyptian pound has plunged to a
six-year low versus the dollar. Heading into the open, the U.S.
Dollar Index has added 0.22% to trade at 78.22. Meanwhile, crude
futures are bouncing back from last week's losses, with the March
contract up 22 cents at $89.25 per barrel. Finally, gold futures
are hovering just below breakeven in London, with the malleable
metal off $1.80 at $1,347.20 an ounce.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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