Stocks Set to Jump as Greece Approves Austerity Measures

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After a turbulent week based mostly on the ongoing debt drama emanating from across the pond, stock futures are headed higher this morning, as Greece appears to have reached a fiscal resolution just in time for the Feb. 15 deadline . With little in the way of domestic economic and earnings news on today's agenda, Wall Street is cheering the austerity measures approved yesterday by the Greek Parliament, although the resolution comes amid violent backlash by its citizens. Against this backdrop, all three major market indexes are looking to jump right out of the gate.

Dow, S&P and Nasdaq futures

In earnings news, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (REGN - 102.08) reported a fourth-quarter loss of $53.4 million, or 58 cents per share, compared to last year's loss of $14.6 million, or 17 cents per share. Excluding items, the per-share loss arrived at 37 cents. Revenue for the quarter fell to $123 million, versus its year-ago revenue of $133.7 million. The bottom-line results came in better than expected, as analysts, on average, were calling for a loss of 60 cents per share on $131 million in sales. REGN is up more than 11% ahead of the bell.


Elsewhere, KVH Industries (KVHI - 9.90) recorded a fourth-quarter profit of $1.6 million, or 11 cents per share, a significant increase over its year-ago profit of $200,000, or 2 cents per share. Revenue was also on the rise, jumping 18% to $31.9 million. The results fell in line with analysts' expectations. Looking ahead, the electronics concern is calling for a first-quarter loss of 3 cents to 9 cents per share on revenue ranging between $25.5 million and $28.5 million. Analysts, meanwhile, are projecting earnings of 6 cents per share on $29.5 million in sales.

Earnings Preview

Today's earnings docket will also feature reports from Alexander & Baldwin ( ALEX ), Amicus Therapeutics ( FOLD ), AsiaInfo Linkage ( ASIA ), Gen-Probe ( GPRO ), Health Management Associates ( HMA ), Lender Processing Services (LPS), Limelight Networks (LLNW), Nordic American Tanker (NAT), Rackspace Hosting (RAX), Seattle Genetics (SGEN), and Skilled Healthcare Group (SKH). Keep your browser at SchaeffersResearch.com for more news as it breaks.

Economic Calendar

The economic calendar kicks off Tuesday with retail sales figures and business inventories, along with the latest data on import and export prices. The Empire State manufacturing index hits the Street on Wednesday. Also on the day's docket are the NAHB's housing market index, industrial production and capacity utilization, weekly crude inventories, and the minutes from the latest meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). Thursday brings us housing starts, the producer price index (PPI), the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index, and the weekly report on jobless claims. The Fed also remains in focus, with Chairman Ben Bernanke slated to speak at an FDIC conference. Finally, we wrap up on Friday with the consumer price index (CPI) and the Conference Board's index of leading indicators.

Market Statistics

Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 1,287,092 call contracts traded on Friday, compared to 986,033 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio arrived at 0.77, while the 21-day moving average was 0.59.

NYSE and Nasdaq summary

Volatility indices

Overseas Trading

Stocks in Asia ended mostly higher today, after legislators in Athens ratified a critical austerity bill. The news alleviated investors' worst fears about a potential Greek debt default, which provided support for exporters -- including Mazda and Mitsubishi in Tokyo, along with Kia and Hyundai in Seoul. As a result, traders were able to shrug off a disappointing gross domestic product (GDP) report for Japan, with the quake-stricken country's economy shrinking by a steeper-than-forecast 0.6% during the fourth quarter. Elsewhere, property stocks pulled back in China, pressured by reports that the city of Wuhu in Anhui is halting its home-subsidy program. By the close, South Korea's Kospi and Japan's Nikkei gained 0.6% apiece, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.5%, and China's Shanghai Composite slipped 0.01%.

The major European benchmarks are in the black at midday, despite increasingly violent protests across Greece following the parliamentary approval of unpopular austerity measures. With the cash-strapped country one step closer to dodging a disorderly debt default, buyers have tiptoed cautiously back into equities. The bulls are also responding to some significant M&A developments, as Vodafone confirmed that it's pondering a bid for telecom titan Cable & Wireless Worldwide. At last check, the French CAC 40 is up 0.7%, the German DAX is 0.8% higher, and London's FTSE 100 has climbed 1.1%.

Overseas markets

Currencies and Commodities

The U.S. dollar index is pointed lower this morning, with the greenback last seen down 0.5% at $78.76. Crude oil, on the other hand, is edging closer to the psychologically significant century mark, with the front-month contract up 0.9% at $99.58 per barrel. Set to shake off last week's loss , gold futures are 0.4% higher at $1,731.30 an ounce.

Currencies and commodities

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This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: ALEX , ASIA , FOLD , GPRO , HMA

Schaeffer's Investment Research

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