Technically, the DJIA briefly breached the 12,300 level for the first time since June 20, 2008 yesterday, before settling on a gain of 61 points. The blue chip barometer continues to consolidate between support at the 12,200 level, which is now home to its 10-day moving average, and resistance at the 12,300 level. The SPX, meanwhile, was no slouch yesterday, as the broad market index topped the 1,333.58 level -- which marks a double of the index's March 2009 low . However, with the negative bias in futures trading, the SPX could be hard-pressed to maintain this perch this morning. Look for support to materialize in the 1,325 region, while resistance lies in the 1,340-1,345 area.
In equities news, Apple shares have fallen nearly 2% in premarket trading. Pressuring the stock lower are media reports that CEO Steve Jobs was seen at a cancer center in California. Jobs has been on medical leave from his duties at Apple since January.
In earnings news, J.M. Smucker Co. ( SJM ) reported that third-quarter earnings fell to $132 million, or $1.11 per share, from $135.5 million, or $1.14 per share, in the same quarter last year. Sales rose to $1.31 billion from $1.21 billion. Analysts were expecting a profit of $1.26 per share on sales of $1.26 billion. For 2011, the company forecast full-year earnings of $4.60 per share to $4.65 per share, just shy of the consensus estimate for $4.66 per share. Sales for fiscal 2011 are seen rising 4% over fiscal 2010.
After the close last night, Nvidia Corp. posted a fourth-quarter profit of $171.7 million, or 29 cents per share, as revenue fell to $886.4 million from $982.5 million a year ago. Adjusted income was 23 cents per share. Wall Street was looking for earnings of 21 cents per share on revenue of $897.7 million. For the current quarter, the company said it sees revenue growing 6% to 8% sequentially.
On the earnings front, Dr Pepper Snapple ( DPS ), Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (RRGB), and Weight Watchers (WTW) are slated to release their quarterly earnings reports. Keep your browser at SchaeffersResearch.com for more news as it breaks.
More data on domestic inflation arrives today, with the release of January's consumer price index ( CPI ). Also on today's docket are weekly initial jobless claims, leading economic indicators, and the Philadelphia Fed business outlook survey. The economic calendar is bare on Friday.
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 1,670,334 call contracts traded on Wednesday, compared to 939,520 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio arrived at 0.56, while the 21-day moving average held at 0.56.
**The volume data shown above is from the Nasdaq and NYSE exchanges only. It does not include regional volume activity, which means that other daily volume quotes you see may be higher.**
Overseas trading is mixed this morning, with four of the 10 foreign indexes that we track in positive territory. The cumulative average return on the collective stands at a gain of 0.06%. Asian markets endured a roller-coaster ride on Thursday, as rising hopes for economic growth were hampered by fresh restrictions on home buying in Beijing. European stocks, meanwhile, are headed lower despite beginning the day on a positive note. Corporate earnings from Capgemini SA and Nestle SA have provided a boost for investor sentiment, but uncertainty surrounding the Middle East and poor reports from BAE Systems and Pernod Ricard have created drag in early trading.
Currencies and Commodities
With more data on inflation due out later this morning, the U.S. dollar is trading relatively flat versus most of its foreign competitors. Specifically, the U.S. Dollar Index has added 0.1% to hover near 78.30 in premarket trading. Gold futures, meanwhile, are modestly higher ahead of U.S. economic data, with growing unrest in the Middle East helping to push prices higher. At last check, gold for April delivery was up $3.10 at $1,378.20 an ounce in London. Finally, crude is retreating this morning, possibly due to strength in the U.S. dollar. In electronic trading, the March crude contract has slipped 31 cents to $87.53 per barrel.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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