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S&P 500 Tests Support at its 14-Day Moving Average

By: Schaeffer's Investment Research
Posted: 4/4/2012 8:20:00 AM
Referenced Stocks: ADP;ANGO;AYI;MON;SPX

Wall Street showed its bearish colors Tuesday, after the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) unveiled the minutes from its latest meeting, and traders seem poised to follow in those footsteps today. A few interesting developments could unfold throughout the session, in the form of:

Among equities, weaker prices and lower demand are cutting into SanDisk's (SNDK ) top line, while Mitcham Industries' (MIND ) earnings results have pushed its shares higher ahead of the bell.

Heading into today's busy session, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) are flirting with a triple-digit loss right out of the gate.

And now, on to the numbers...

Dow, S&P and Nasdaq futures

Currencies and Commodities

Currencies and commodities

After last night's close, SanDisk Corporation (SNDK - 50.05) downwardly revised its fiscal first-quarter revenue outlook, citing weak pricing and demand. For the quarter ended April 1, the data storage issue is now calling for revenue to arrive around $1.2 billion, down from its previous projection for $1.3 billion to $1.35 billion. SNDK also expects gross margin to fall below its prior 39% to 42% forecast. Analysts, meanwhile, are calling for revenue of $1.34 billion. SNDK is scheduled to release its full earnings results on Thursday, April 19. SNDK is down 6.8% in pre-market trading.

Meanwhile, Mitcham Industries (MIND - 24.32) banked a fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $10.2 million, or 77 cents per share, up from $1.8 million, or 17 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Meanwhile, revenue jumped by 88% to $37 million. Specifically, equipment leasing revenues -- excluding equipment sales -- rose by 87%, while Seamap equipment sales climbed by 78%. Analysts, on average, were expecting earnings of 57 cents per share on sales of $31 million. MIND is up 11% ahead of the bell.

Earnings and Economic Data

Jobs data starts to trickle in today, with the release of ADP's private-sector payrolls report for March. Also on tap is the ISM services index , and the usual update on crude inventories . The earnings calendar includes reports from Acuity Brands ( AYI ), AngioDynamics ( ANGO ), Monsanto ( MON ) , PriceSmart (PSMT), and Ruby Tuesday (RT) . Keep your browser at SchaeffersResearch.com for more news as it breaks.

Overseas Trading

Asian markets ended lower today, tracking Tuesday's gloomy session on Wall Street. A stronger U.S. dollar weighed on energy and resource stocks, while Fast Retailing led the laggards in Tokyo after a disappointing same-store sales report. Traders also digested another round of anxiety-inducing economic data, as Australia swung to a surprise trade deficit in February on weaker coal shipments to China. By the close, Japan's Nikkei fell 2.3%, and South Korea's Kospi shed 1.5%. Markets in China and Hong Kong are closed for holiday.

The selling mood has spread to Europe, with the major regional benchmarks planted firmly south of breakeven at midday. Banks are among the notable decliners, thanks to a lackluster bond sale by fiscally strapped Spain. Meanwhile, as widely expected, the European Central Bank (ECB) opted to hold its main lending rate steady at the current record low of 1%. At last check, London's FTSE 100 has lost 1.3%, the French CAC 40 is off 1.5%, and the German DAX is down 1.7%.

Overseas markets

Market Statistics

Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 1,175,201 call contracts traded on Tuesday, compared to 692,535 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio arrived at 0.59, while the 21-day moving average was 0.60.

NYSE and Nasdaq summary

Volatility indices

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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