The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) finished fractionally higher on Tuesday, even though the rest of Wall Street wasn't quite so lucky. In fact, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) backpedaled nearly 1%. Employment data remains front and center today, with the release of weekly initial jobless claims this morning and September's unemployment rate looming large tomorrow. Wall Street is cautiously optimistic, as futures on the DJIA and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) are trading roughly 12 points and 1.2 points above fair value, respectively. Look for the Dow to find short-term support near 10,900, with the longer-term backdrop arriving at 10,750. Resistance now resides at 11,000. The SPX, meanwhile, should find a floor at 1,150, with the 1,165-1,170 region creating a ceiling.
On the equities front, PepsiCo Inc. ( PEP ) said that its third-quarter net profit rose 12% to $1.92 billion, or $1.19 per share, as revenue jumped 40% to $15.51 billion. PepsiCo said that core earnings were $1.22 per share. Analysts were expecting earnings of $1.21 per share. PepsiCo said it now expects growth in core constant-currency earnings per share of between 11% and 12% for fiscal 2010, down from 11% to 13% growth.
Elsewhere, Avis Budget Group Inc. ( CAR ) said that it expects third-quarter EBITDA to be in a range of $210 million to $220 million. Revenue is expected to be about $1.5 billion. Analysts are looking for EBITDA of $217 million on sales of $1.52 billion.
Finally, a slew of retailers will be releasing September same-store sales data this morning. Among those reporting before the open, Limited Brands ( LTD ) said that its September same-store sales rose 12%, versus expectations for a rise of 4%. Net sales for the period rose 12.4% to $735.8 million, from $654.8 million a year ago.
On the earnings front, Alcoa Inc. ( AA ), International Speedway Corp. ( ISCA ), and Micron Technology, Inc. ( MU ) will release their quarterly earnings reports today. Keep your browser at SchaeffersResearch.com for more news as it breaks.
The Labor Department will release its weekly new jobless claims figures, while the Federal Reserve will report on consumer credit use in August. Finally, September's nonfarm payrolls report and unemployment rate will arrive tomorrow, as will the Commerce Department's report on August wholesale inventories.
Equity option activity on the CBOE saw 1,318,251 call contracts traded on Wednesday, compared to 773,380 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio arrived at 0.59, while the 21-day moving average held at 0.59.
**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, as only five of the 10 foreign indexes that we track are in positive territory. The cumulative average return on the collective stands at a loss of 0.03%. In Asia, China's Shanghai Composite remained closed for the national holiday today, but will reopen tomorrow. Elsewhere, regional indexes traded mixed, with traders nervous ahead of tomorrow's U.S. employment data. Across the pond in Europe, regional indexes are headed higher after the Bank of England and the European Central Bank provided no changes to their monetary policies. The lack of movement was expected, but traders had been anxious following the Bank of Japan's unexpected interest rate cut.
Currencies and Commodities
Gold futures have set yet another in a string of record highs in overnight trading. The malleable metal tagged a high of $1,366 an ounce in Asia, though the December contract has moderated to a gain of $10.90 at $1,358.60 an ounce in London. The falling U.S. dollar is helping to provide lift for gold prices. The greenback continues to fall versus the Japanese yen, and slipped against the euro this morning after the Bank of England and the European Central Bank both held interest rates steady. Finally, crude prices are extending this week's rally heading into the open, with the December contract up 43 cents at $83.66 per barrel.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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