Opening View: Wall Street Hopeful Ahead of July Jobs Data

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) edged lower on Thursday, as weekly initial jobless claims and lackluster retail sales provided little in the way of support. Wall Street has been unwilling to take much of a stand on either side of the bull/bear coin this week, as traders have remained cautious ahead of this morning's report on nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate. Economists are looking for a decline of 60,000 jobs in July, with the unemployment rate rising to 9.6%. Heading into the report, futures on the DJIA and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) are trading 19 points and 3 points above fair value, respectively, indicating some hope that the data will come in better than expected. For most of the week, the DJIA has remain trapped between support at 10,600 and resistance at 10,700, while the SPX has traded between 1,115 and 1,130. Look for these levels to be challenged today as Wall Street finally stretches its legs after nearly a week of waiting.

In equity news, Fannie Mae (FNM) reported a second-quarter net loss of $1.2 billion late Thursday, down from a net loss of $11.5 billion in the first quarter of 2010 and a net loss of $14.8 billion in the same period a year earlier. The quarterly net loss attributable to common stockholders was $3.1 billion, or 55 cents per share.

Elsewhere, Kraft Foods ( KFT ) reported a second-quarter profit of 60 cents per share, excluding items, besting the Street's forecast for earnings of 52 cents per share. Sales rose 25% to $12.3 billion. Kraft also kept its 2010 adjusted profit forecast of at least $2 per share.

Finally, Activision Blizzard Inc. ( ATVI ) announced a second-quarter profit of $219 million, or 17 cents per share, on total revenue of $967 million. Excluding special items and sales, Activision earned $72 million, or 6 cents per share, on revenue of $683 million. By that measure, analysts had forecast Activision to earn 5 cents per share on $719.8 million in sales.

Earnings Preview

On the earnings front, China Sunergy Co. Ltd. ( CSUN ) and Dynegy Inc. ( DYN ) are scheduled to release their quarterly earnings report today. Keep your browser at SchaeffersResearch.com for more news as it breaks.

Economic Calendar

The report Wall Street has been waiting for arrives today, as the Labor Department will release the month's highly anticipated nonfarm payrolls and unemployment reports.

Market Statistics

Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange ( CBOE ) saw 983,113 call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to 593,738 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio arrived at 0.60, while the 21-day moving average rose to 0.60.

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

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Overseas Trading

Overseas trading is mostly positive this morning, as seven of the 10 foreign indexes that we track are in positive territory. The cumulative average return on the collective stands at a gain of 0.41%. Trading in Asia finished mixed, as investors were cautious on the economic outlook ahead of the closely watched U.S. nonfarm payrolls data, but Chinese markets still finished higher. European shares bounced back in early trading on Friday, as strong corporate earnings provided support. Overseas market information comes to you courtesy of Schaeffer's Daily Bulletin .

Overseas markets

Currencies and Commodities

The U.S. Dollar Index is hovering close to breakeven ahead of this morning's nonfarm payrolls report. At last check, the index was up 0.11% at 80.91. Elsewhere, crude futures are pulling back this morning, as traders remain skittish ahead of today's jobs data. In electronic trading, the front-month crude contract is down 27 cents at $81.74 per barrel. Finally, the front-month gold contract continues to meet with resistance near $1,200 an ounce. In London, gold futures are down $3.10 at $1,196.20 an ounce.

Currencies and commodities

Unusual Put and Call Activity:

Due to technical issues, the unusual put and call activity charts are unavailable this morning.

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This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: ATVI , CBOE , CSUN , DYN , KFT

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