Stocks Hold Modest Gains Despite Bullish Claims Data And Confusion Over FOMC
Stock futures are cautiously higher this morning as Wall Street continues to digest the minutes from the October FOMC meeting. Although the Fed voted near unanimously to keep large asset purchases unchanged at $85 billion per month, the focus of future decisions remains in question with the board seemingly ready to prepare an exit strategy. After declining late on Wednesday, investors are buying on the dip, but still steering clear of the record highs that caused modest profit-taking pressure throughout Wednesday.
Today's economic data included the two main focuses for the Fed: jobs and inflation. Initial jobless claims declined by a greater than expected 21,000 -- more than 5 times more what the street expected -- to 323,000 new claims for the week ended November 16, the lowest number of new claims in 2 months.
Inflation remained very benign with producer prices contracting 0.2% in October, matching expectations. Excluding food and fuel, prices rose 0.2, slightly beating estimates for a 0.1% increase.
Later in the morning is the Markit PMI final manufacturing index for November with estimates expecting a modest increase to 53.0 from 51.1. Lastly, the Philly Fed survey is expected to show a decline in business conditions for the Northeast region, with the index dropping from 19.8 in October to 15.5.
European markets are all in the red as investors react negatively to bearish manufacturing data from France which pushed the EU-zone PMI index lower for the latest survey month. Global equities were also ruffled by a modest decline in the Chinese manufacturing index which resulted in a lower close for the Hang Seng and Shanghai indices.
-Dow Jones Industrial up 0.15%
-S&P 500 futures up 0.24%
-Nasdaq 100 futures up 0.34%
Nikkei up 1.92%
Hang Seng down 0.51%
Shanghai Composite down 0.04%
DAX-30 down 0.37%
PRE-MARKET SECTOR WATCH
(+) Large cap tech: higher
(+) Chip stocks: higher
(+) Software stocks: higher
(+) Hardware stocks: higher
(+) Internet stocks: higher
(+) Drug stocks: higher
(+) Financial stocks: higher
(-) Retail stocks: lower
(+) Industrial stocks: higher
(+/-) Airlines: mixed
(+/-) Autos mixed
SMRT (+2.55%) Stein Mart broke even per diluted share in Q3 compared to a loss of $0.04 the year earlier while sales rose 6.1% to $290.5 million, exceeding the $284 million average Capital IQ analyst estimate.
ICLD (+6.30%) Awarded over $2.5 million in new professional services contracts, from new and existing clients.
BV (-11.7%) Bazaarvoice is cutting its revenue guidance by 2% to between $181 million and $184 million, below current Capital IQ forecasts for $186 million.
WBMD (-5.7%) Priced its private placement of $300 million aggregate principal amount of 1.50% convertible notes due 2020.
TGT (-2.99%) GAAP earnings were $0.54, vs. the Street view of $0.63 per share. Sales for the quarter were $16.9 bln, up from $16.6 bln. Analysts expected $17.37 bln.
DLTR (-6.31%) Reported Q3 earnings of $0.58 per share, up from $0.51 the year earlier, but missing the average $0.60 Capital IQ analyst estimate. Sales rose 9.5% to $1.88 billion compared to the $1.9 billion consensus estimate.