Wall Street is on track to maintain yesterday's positive
momentum, with Wednesday's big market gains triggered by
Alcoa's (AA ) classy start
to earnings season. With the
S&P 500 Index (
effectively shaking off its longest losing streak since November,
traders will be taking time today to focus on:
Russell 2000 Index (
, and what's in store for the small caps
- a glut of economic data, including
weekly jobless claims
and the monthly trade deficit
Italian bond yields
Among equities in focus, earnings season continues, with
Rite Aid Corporation (RAD )
Fastenal (FAST )
both stepping up to the plate.
And now, on to the numbers...
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (
) saw 1,078,917 call contracts traded on Wednesday, compared to
712,627 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio
arrived at 0.66, while the 21-day moving average was 0.62.
Currencies and Commodities
U.S. dollar index
has backpedaled 0.3% this morning to trade at $79.57.
meanwhile, continues its
, with the front-month contract up 0.4% at $103.54 per
have pulled back, with gold for June delivery down 0.3% at
$1,656 an ounce.
In earnings news, Rite Aid Corporation (RAD - 1.70) said its
fiscal fourth-quarter loss narrowed to $161.3 million, or 18 cents
per share, from last year's loss of $205.7 million, or 24 cents per
share. Thanks to an extra week of sales in the prior quarter,
revenue jumped 11% to $7.12 billion. RAD also recorded a 3%
improvement in same-store sales, the pharmacy's highest in five
years. The results were mixed, with analysts calling for a loss of
14 cents per share on $6.98 billion in sales. For fiscal 2013, RAD
projects a per-share loss of 13 cents to 31 cents per share on
revenue ranging from $25.4 billion to $25.8 billion, while Wall
Street forecast a loss of 25 cents per share on $25.74 billion in
revenue. RAD is up 0.6% in pre-market trading.
Fastenal (FAST - 49.63) banked a first-quarter profit of $100.2
million, or 34 cents per share, up 26% from its year-ago earnings
of $79.5 million, or 27 cents per share. Net sales for the period
advanced 20% to $768.9 million, but gross margin contracted to
51.3% from 52%. The results fell just short of Wall Street's
expectations. On average, analysts were looking for a profit of 35
cents per share on $769 million in revenue. FAST is 0.7% lower
ahead of the bell.
Earnings and Economic Data
weekly jobless claims
producer price index (PPI)
J.B. Hunt Transport Services (
LDK Solar Co. (LDK)
European markets are mixed at midday, with rising Italian bond
yields putting a damper on investor sentiment. Royal Dutch Shell is
a notable laggard, thanks to reports indicating the presence of an
oil slick near the site of the oil major's Gulf of Mexico
operations. On the other hand, Royal Bank of Scotland is on the
upswing amid speculation that investors from Qatar and Abu Dhabi
are looking to acquire a stake in the lender. At last check, the
German DAX has advanced 0.6%, the French CAC 40 is up 0.1%, and
London's FTSE 100 is 0.1% lower.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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Open Interest Configurations
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