After soaring 7.7% to its strongest September gains since 1939, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is poised to extend its rally into October and the start of the fourth quarter. Futures on the DJIA and S&P 500 Index (SPX) are trading roughly 33 points and 5.2 points above fair value, respectively. Technically, the Dow closed below 10,800 yesterday, but held firm above support in the 10,750 region. What's more, the blue chip barometer established short-term resistance in the 10,950 region with Thursday's high. As for the SPX, the broad-market index held support at the 1,135 level, with resistance holding firm near 1,150. Traders should keep their eyes peeled for several key economic reports this morning, including reports on construction spending, personal income, consumer sentiment, and the Institute for Supply Management's September manufacturing index.
In equity news, Hewlett-Packard Co. ( HPQ ) named Leo Apotheker as its new chief executive officer. The company also named Ray Lane, a former Oracle Corp. ( ORCL ) president, as its non-executive chairman of the board. Apotheker, the former CEO of software giant SAP, will also join HPQ's board of directors.
Elsewhere, BP plc ( BP ) has pledged certain Gulf of Mexico oil assets as collateral for the $20 billion trust it set up to pay claims linked to the Gulf oil spill. Those assets include an overriding royalty interest in oil and gas production of BP's Thunder Horse, Atlantis, Mad Dog, Great White and Mars, Ursa and Na Kika oil and gas assets. "The pledging of these assets underscores our commitments to the trust which we set up to pay all legitimate claims arising from the tragedy," said Lamar McKay, Chairman and President of BP America Inc.
Finally, Lawson Software ( LWSN ) reported net income of $9.64 million, or 6 cents per share, as revenue rose 3% to $174.7 million. On a non-GAAP basis, the company said it earned $18 million, or 11 cents per share, on revenue of $176.6 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 9 cents per share on revenue of $172.2 million.
There are no major earnings reports slated for release today. Keep your browser at SchaeffersResearch.com for more news as it breaks.
The economic calendar will be chock full of data today. The Commerce Department alone will report on August construction spending, personal income and spending, and September auto sales, while the University of Michigan will give us a final look at consumer sentiment in September and the Institute for Supply Management will release its September manufacturing index.
Equity option activity on the CBOE saw 1,160,710 call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to 638,220 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio arrived at 0.55, while the 21-day moving average slipped to 0.58.
**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 five of the 10 foreign indexes that we track are in positive territory. The cumulative average return on the collective stands at a gain of 0.19%. In Asian trading, Chinese markets are closed for a week from Oct. 1 to Oct. 7 for the National Day holiday. Trading will resume on Friday, Oct. 8 in mainland China, while Hong Kong markets will reopen on Monday. Elsewhere, strong Chinese manufacturing data provided lift for most of the region, while hopes for additional monetary easing lifted sentiment in Japan. Meanwhile, European stocks are trading mixed this morning, as commodity-related stocks are losing their momentum in the wake of solid Chinese economic data.
Currencies and Commodities
New record highs for gold have been accompanied by a continued decline in the U.S. dollar in overseas trading this morning. First, the December gold contract has risen $7.60 to trade at $1,317.20 an ounce in London, pulling back from an earlier peak of $1,318.40 an ounce. Meanwhile, the greenback continues to slide versus the euro and the yen, sending the U.S. Dollar Index down by 0.51% to $78.32 - its lowest level since January. Finally, crude futures have spiked 98 cents to $80.95 per barrel in electronic trading.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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