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Opening View: DJIA Heads Higher on Euro-Zone Optimism; Wall Street Mourns Apple Titan Steve Jobs

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Stocks are set to extend their winning streak this morning, with investors taking their cues from across the pond. At midday, European indexes are on the upswing, as traders cheer a surprise round of quantitative easing from the Bank of England, and look to European financial leaders for a plan to shore up the region's banks. On the home front, however, Wall Street is also mourning the passing of Apple Inc. (AAPL ) co-founder Steve Jobs, who succumbed to cancer at the age of 56. Calling Jobs "among the greatest of American innovators," President Obama noted that "the world has lost a visionary." However, while AAPL shares are pointed lower ahead of the bell, the major market indexes are set to start the session in the black.

As alluded to earlier, Apple Inc. (AAPL - 378.25) is pointed lower this morning, as investors digest the passing of Steve Jobs. Said Microsoft ( MSFT ) co-founder Bill Gates of his colleague: "The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come. For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it's been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely." At last check, the shares of AAPL are set to start the session with a 1.8% drop.

In earnings news, Marriott International (MAR - 28.18) swallowed a fiscal third-quarter loss of $179 million, or 52 cents per share, reversing its year-ago profit of $83 million, or 22 cents per share. On an adjusted basis, MAR earned 29 cents per share, while revenue increased 8.5% to $2.87 billion. Wall Street was looking for an adjusted profit of 27 cents per share on $2.83 billion in revenue.

Elsewhere, DragonWave (DRWI - 49.44) swung to a fiscal second-quarter loss of $2.2 million, or 6 cents per share, while revenue was cut in half to $13.6 million. However, the results actually surpassed analysts' expectations, which called for a steeper loss of 21 cents per share on $12.8 million in revenue. The firm's third-quarter forecast was slightly less impressive, though -- DRWI is targeting revenue of $12 million to $15 million, just short of Wall Street's consensus estimate of $15.5 million.

Finally, Ruby Tuesday (RT - 7.16) said its first-quarter earnings fell to $3.1 million, or 5 cents per share, down 75% from its year-ago profit of $12.4 million, or 19 cents per share. Excluding items, RT reported earnings of 3 cents per share, compared to an adjusted profit of 17 cents per share a year earlier. Despite a 4.1% decrease in same-store sales, revenue rose 9.1% to $330.3 million. The results fell below expectations, as analysts were looking for a profit of 5 cents per share on revenue of $334 million. Looking ahead, RT predicted an adjusted second-quarter loss of 4 cents to 8 cents per share, while Wall Street is targeting a profit of 5 cents per share. The Tennessee-based restaurateur also cut its full-year earnings forecast to a range of 60 cents to 75 cents per share, down from its July prediction of 75 cents to 85 cents per share.

Earnings Preview

Today's earnings docket will also feature reports from AngioDynamics ( ANGO ), Constellation Brands ( STZ ), Helen of Troy ( HELE ), and International Speedway ( ISCA ). Keep your browser at SchaeffersResearch.com for more news as it breaks.

Economic Calendar

Weekly jobless claims and same-store sales reports are on the docket today. Tomorrow's marquee event is the Labor Department's nonfarm payrolls report for September, though the Street will also digest wholesale inventories and consumer credit for August.

Market Statistics

Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 1,023,835 call contracts traded on Wednesday, compared to 709,097 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio arrived at 0.69, while the 21-day moving average was 0.72.

Overseas Trading

Bulls are also in the driver's seat in Europe, after the Bank of England unveiled plans to purchase 75 billion pounds' worth of assets as part of a quantitative easing initiative. On the other hand, the European Central Bank (ECB) opted to stand pat on rates, despite signs of rising inflation. Nevertheless, traders remain upbeat about a plan to shore up the struggling financial sector. "We are now proposing member states to have a coordinated action to recapitalize banks and so to get rid of toxic assets they may have," said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in an interview. At last check, London's FTSE 100 has added 2.3%, the French CAC 40 has gained 2.4%, while the German DAX is 2.1% higher.

Currencies and Commodities

The greenback is trading modestly higher this morning, with the U.S. dollar index up 0.2% at last check. Meanwhile, after enjoying their biggest single-session incline since May on Wednesday, crude oil futures have extended their rebound to beyond $80 per barrel, with the front-month contract last seen 1.5% higher. Elsewhere, gold futures have also continued yesterday's upward momentum, with the malleable metal tacking on $12.20, or 0.7%, to wink at $1,653.80 an ounce.

Unusual Put and Call Activity:

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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