Stocks are pointing toward a lower open this morning, with many
traders appearing ready to take more profits off the table today
following several day's of gains last week that lifted market
indices to multi-year highs.
There's a relatively light economic schedule today, with only
the National Association of Homebuilders/Wells Fargo Housing Market
Index for March due out at 10 a.m. Last month, the seasonally
adjusted index rose for the fifth consecutative month from 25 to
29, its highest level in more than four years. Builders are asked
to rate their current perceptions of single-family home sales and
customer traffic as well as their expectations for the next six
months. Figures over 50 indicate more builders view conditions as
good rather than poor.
Economists polled by MarketWatch see the NAHB/Wells Fargo index
will be unchanged at 29. Later this week, new data on housing
starts during February will be released tomorrow, followed by
existing home sales on Wednesday. New-home sales figures are due
out on Friday.
In company news, Apple Inc. (
) is 3.6% higher this morning after scheduling a special call "to
announce the outcome of the company's discussions concerning its
cash balance." The company's cash, short-term equivalents and
long-term investments were worth nearly $100 billion at the end of
2011 and many investors have been expecting it to soon start a
dividend or share buyback program. Today's call will be hosted by
CEO Tim Cook and financial chief Peter Oppenheimer starting at 9
a.m. ET. In a statement released last night announcing the call,
AAPL said it won't be providing an update "on the current quarter
nor will any topics be discussed other than cash."
Also, QR Energy (
) this morning announced plans to buying oil properties in
Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Michigan for $230 million. The oil
fields contain an estimated 13 million barrels of oil equivalent
and 150 producing wells and the Houston-based energy firm said it
expects the deal will add to its distributable cash flow. The deal
is slated to close in April.
Commodities are nearly mixed with March gold down $1.10 to
$1,654.40 an ounce. May copper is notably higher, gaining 10.5
cents at $3.8890 a pound. Crude oil for April delivery is up 24
cents at $107.30 a barrel.
U.S. PRE-MARKET INDICATORS
-Dow Jones Industrials down 0.12% at 13.147.00
-S&P 500 futures down 0.14% at 1,396.50
-Nasdaq 100 futures down 0.10% at 2,713.06
-Nasdaq-100 Pre-Market Indicator up 0.42% at 2,724.22
Nikkei 225 up 0.12%
Hang Seng down 0.95%
Shanghai Composite up 0.23%
FTSE-100 down 0.33%
DAX-30 down 0.54%
PRE-MARKET SECTOR WATCH
(+/-) Large cap tech: mixed
(+/-) Chip stocks: mixed
(-) Software stocks: lower
(+) Hardware stocks: higher
(-) Internet stocks: lower
(-) Drug stocks: lower
(-) Financial stocks: lower
(+/-) Retail stocks: flat
(-) Industrial stocks: lower
(-) Airlines: lower
(-) Autos: lower
(+) UPS, (+%) Raises bids to acquire TNT Express, offers $6.8
(+) RIMM, (+%) Speculation continued through weekend Samsung is
ready to purchase minority stake.
(-) ORCL, (%) Reports Q3 earnings after market close
(-) EBAY, (%) Citigroup downgrades to Neutral based on
valuation, noting stock now close to $39 price target.
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