U.S. stock futures are trading just above breakeven this
morning. Wall Street appears unwilling to make any major moves in
today's session, after a week's worth of mixed economic signals
from all corners of the globe. Two market movers could emerge as
the day proceeds, with February's new home sales report slated for
release at 10 a.m. Eastern. Stocks may also find direction when Fed
Chairman Ben Bernanke takes the stage at this afternoon's Federal
Reserve Conference in Washington, D.C. Against this muted backdrop,
the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is set to open the day 4
points higher, while the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) is looking
at a fractional gain.
In earnings news, Micron Technology (MU - 8.71) swung to a
fiscal second-quarter loss of $224 million, or 23 cents per share,
from its year-ago profit of $72 million, or 7 cents per share. Net
sales dropped 8.4% to $2.07 billion, pressured by a decline in
average selling prices. The results were mixed, as Wall Street was
looking for a narrower loss of 19 cents per share on revenue of
just $2.02 billion. MU is looking at a 4.8% drop right out of the
Nike (NKE - 110.99) banked a fiscal third-quarter profit of $560
million, or $1.20 per share, up 7.1% from last year's earnings of
$523 million, or $1.08 per share. Revenue improved 15% to $5.85
billion, but gross margin contracted to 43.8% from 45.8% as costs
climbed. NKE's quarterly performance surpassed analysts'
expectations, which called for a profit of $1.17 per share on $5.82
billion in revenue. NKE is up 0.1% ahead of the bell.
Finally, Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI - 51.83) reported a
fiscal third-quarter profit of $164.1 million, or $1.25 per share,
an 8.5% year-over-year rise from $151.2 million, or $1.08 per
share. Same-store sales enjoyed a 4.1% jump, while total revenue
improved 9.3% to $2.16 billion. The results just beat analysts'
expectations for earnings of $1.24 per share on $2.14 billion in
sales. The restaurateur reiterated its fiscal 2012 outlook for a
2.5% to 3% increase in same-store sales, and expects to open 85 to
90 new stores in 2012. DRI is 0.3% higher in pre-market
Today's earnings docket will also feature reports from Camelot
Information Systems (
) and KB Home (
). Keep your browser at
for more news as it breaks.
We wrap up a week chock-full of housing data data with today's
new home sales report.
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (
) saw 1,136,568 call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to
783,568 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio
arrived at 0.69, while the 21-day moving average was 0.62.
Stocks in Asia ended mostly lower today, following suit with
Wall Street's Thursday swoon. Disappointing manufacturing reports
from China and Europe pressured exporters -- particularly in Japan,
where the yen surged against its major foreign counterparts.
Meanwhile, a poorly received earnings report from Agricultural Bank
of China weighed on financial stocks in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
However, Seoul was able to eke out a win, with equities edging
slightly higher after three straight losing sessions. By the close,
Hong Kong's Hang Seng, China's Shanghai Composite, and Japan's
Nikkei each lost 1.1%, while South Korea's Kospi crept up
Likewise, the major European indexes are modestly lower at
midday. Traders are still on edge following Thursday's
disappointing report on regional factory activity, and the prospect
of a protracted economic slowdown has sparked selling in banks.
Resource stocks are also among the notable laggards, tracking
losses in oil and gold futures. At last check, the French CAC 40 is
down 0.7%, the German DAX has slipped 0.4%, and London's FTSE 100
has shed 0.5%.
Currencies and Commodities
The U.S. dollar index has pulled back this morning, with the
greenback last seen 0.4% lower at $79.46. Elsewhere, crude oil is
on the mend
, with the front-month contract 0.4% higher at $105.73. Gold
futures are on pace to end the week on a positive note, with the
malleable metal up 0.4%, as well, at $1,649.30 an ounce.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
For an explanation of how to use this information, check out our
Open Interest Configurations
Every morning, our research staff analyzes the prior day
and the overnight markets, and monitors the morning wires to
give you an accurate preview of the day to come. If you enjoyed
today's edition of Opening View, sign up
for free daily delivery, straight to your inbox, before the
All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized reproduction of any SIR publication is strictly prohibited.