SPX, COMP Futures Hold Steady Above Short-Term Support

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A bullish bias is lingering today, with futures on all three major market indexes pointed modestly higher in pre-market trading. Heading into the session, the S&P 500 Index ( SPX ) and the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) are on pace to solidify their respective perches atop the supportive 1,400 and 3,000 marks.

  • Four material stocks Equities Analyst Bryan Sapp will be watching today.
  • Bullish sentiment among financial advisers creeped back into the market.
  • Breaking down the play potential of five differing sectors.
Among equities in focus, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR ) is staring at a staggering post-earnings plunge; calls were the options of choice on JDS Uniphase (JDSU ) in the weeks leading up to last night's announcement; and Whole Foods Market (WFM ) may benefit from bullish brokerage notes following its quarterly results.

And now, on to the numbers...

Dow, S&P and Nasdaq futures

Market Statistics

Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange ( CBOE ) saw 1,078,798 call contracts traded on Wednesday, compared to 809,725 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio arrived at 0.75, while the 21-day moving average was 0.63.

NYSE and Nasdaq summary

Volatility indices

From the Trading Floor

In today's session, Bryan Sapp's focus will be on " Materials names . There are a few coal and oil stocks --Walter Energy ( WLT ), Continental Resources ( CLR ), Concho Resources ( CXO ), and Alpha Natural Resources (ANR) -- that reported earnings after last night's close and before this morning's open, and those share prices typically coincide with the outlook for the global economy. Coal has really been in the tank lately, and a big bounce and/or beat post-earnings could be a positive sign going forward."

Sapp continued, "The European Central Bank (ECB) rate decision, jobless claims, productivity numbers, and ISM non-manufacturing index all have the potential to really move the intraday market activity. It seems that most traders are waiting for Friday's big jobs number , though."

Currencies and Commodities

  • The U.S. dollar index continues to gain ground , with the greenback up 0.2% at $79.25.
  • Crude oil is headed south, with the front-month contract 0.4% lower at $104.83 per barrel.
  • Gold futures are poised for a drop, as well, with the malleable metal down 0.6% at $1,644.80 an ounce.

Currencies and commodities

In earnings news, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters' (GMCR - 49.52) fiscal second-quarter profit soared 42% to $93 million, or 58 cents per share. Excluding items, earnings rose to 64 cents, while revenue jumped 37% to $885.1 million. The results were mixed, with analysts calling for adjusted earnings of 64 cents on $971.7 million in sales. GMCR slashed its full-year outlook, with the coffee concern projecting a profit range of $2.40 to $2.50 per share on $3.8 billion to $4 billion in sales, well below Wall Street's forecast for a per-share profit of $2.67 on revenue of $4.27 billion. Near-term puts were the options du jour on GMCR ahead of earnings, with the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) sitting at a lofty 1.38. GMCR is looking at a 39% plunge right out of the gate.

JDS Uniphase (JDSU - 12.04) swallowed a fiscal third-quarter loss of $17.4 million, or 8 cents per share, while revenue declined 9.9% to $409.2 million. On an adjusted basis, JDSU earned 11 cents per share. Analysts, by comparison, expected earnings of 11 cents per share on $420 million in revenue. Looking ahead, JDSU anticipates fourth-quarter revenue of $415 million to $435 million, well below the average analyst estimate of $457 million. In the 10 sessions prior to last night's announcement, traders on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange ( CBOE ), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) bought to open 3.79 calls for every put. JDSU has pulled back 4.5% ahead of the bell.

Whole Foods Market (WFM - 84.31) banked a fiscal second-quarter profit of $117.7 million, or 64 cents per share -- representing a 31% year-over-year improvement, and topping Wall Street's forecast for earnings of 59 cents per share. Sales improved 14% to $2.67 billion, with same-store sales increasing 9.5%. WFM raised its full-year profit forecast to a range between $2.44 and $2.47 per share, blowing past the consensus prediction of $2.34 per share. With the stock staring at a 4% post-earnings pop, WFM could be poised for some upgrades and/or price target hikes, as 35% of analysts still maintain a tepid "hold" rating, and the average 12-month price target of $86.78 is just a stone's throw from yesterday's close.

Earnings and Economic Data

Jobs data continues to roll in today, when we'll hear the latest weekly jobless claims, as well as the ISM services index. ANR , American International Group (AIG), Corinthian Colleges (COCO) , Fuel Systems Solutions (FSYS), James River Coal (JRCC) , Kodiak Oil & Gas (KOG), Level 3 Communications (LVLT) , MGM Resorts (MGM), Randgold Resources (GOLD) , Royal Gold (RGLD), Southwestern Energy (SWN) , SunPower (SPWR), and Western Refining (WNR) will all release their respective earnings.

Overseas Trading

Stocks in Asia edged mostly lower today, following suit with Wednesday's lackluster finish on Wall Street. Traders were rattled by weak employment reports from the U.S. and euro zone, while a downturn in gold prices weighed on mining issues. Meanwhile, sellers targeted financial stocks after Singapore's Temasek Holdings unloaded substantial stakes in China Construction Bank and Bank of China at a relative discount. By the close, Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.3%, South Korea's Kospi declined 0.2%, and China's Shanghai Composite eked out a gain of 0.07%. Markets in Japan are closed through the end of the week for holidays.

European markets are clinging to modest gains at midday, after the ECB opted to stand pat on interest rates. Investors will now be looking ahead to a press conference with ECB President Mario Draghi, who is expected to provide some clues as to whether policymakers are considering additional easing measures. At last check, London's FTSE 100 is up 0.5%, the German DAX has gained 1%, and the French CAC 40 is 1.4% higher.

Overseas markets

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

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This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: CBOE , CLR , CXO , SPX , WLT

Schaeffer's Investment Research

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