U.S. stocks are poised to extend their upward momentum today, as a relatively quiet Wall Street awaits the next round of economic data. In the wake of yesterday's batch of encouraging economic and sentiment reports , traders appear optimistic ahead of data on personal income, spending, durable goods, and housing, with the bulls looking to start the long holiday weekend on a high note. Meanwhile, a deal between Rambus ( RMBS ) and Broadcom ( BRCM ) could help the tech sector continue yesterday's ascent , while crude oil's quest to reclaim the century mark has energy stocks pointed higher. Against this backdrop, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and S&P 500 Index (SPX) are set to open a lightly traded session in the black.
In equities news, Rambus (RMBS - 7.32) said it reached a five-year patent licensing agreement with Broadcom (BRCM - 29.77), settling all outstanding claims between the two. Terms of the latest deal, however, weren't disclosed. Ahead of the bell, RMBS is set to soar 16.3%, while BRCM is headed 0.8% higher.
Eastman Kodak (EK - 0.63) is set to open with a 19% lead, after the firm tapped General Counsel Laura Quatela to serve as co-president with Philip Faraci. "Laura's election reflects her increasing role in the company, including the strategic importance of the intellectual property business," said Chairman and CEO Antonio M. Perez. Quatela will take office Jan. 1.
On the earnings front, Christopher & Banks (CBK - 2.35) last night said its fiscal third-quarter loss widened to $28.2 million, or 79 cents per share, from its year-ago loss of $9.2 million, or 26 cents per share. The results included a one-time charge of 34 cents per share, related to the retailer's planned store closings and consolidations. Revenue, on the other hand, edged 2.4% higher to $123.9 million, while same-store sales remained flat. The results surprised few on the Street, as the company last week forecast a quarterly loss and suspended its dividend. In pre-market trading, CBK is down 2.6%.
There are no earnings reports of note. Keep your browser at SchaeffersResearch.com for more news as it breaks.
We head into the long holiday weekend with data on durable goods, personal income and spending, and new home sales for November.
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange ( CBOE ) saw 747,598 call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to 507,293 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio arrived at 0.68, while the 21-day moving average was 0.71.
Asian stocks ended higher today, with traders taking their cues from a round of well-received U.S. economic data on Thursday. Commodity stocks were a pocket of strength, after China's Yanzhou Coal struck a reverse merger deal with Australia's Gloucester Coal. However, the day's gains came amid relatively light volume, with traders in Tokyo enjoying a holiday break. By the close, Hong Kong's Hang Seng tacked on 1.4%, South Korea's Kospi rose 1.1%, and China's Shanghai Composite gained 0.9%.
It's pretty much the same story over in Europe, with volume drying up ahead of the extended holiday weekend. Traders cheered upbeat U.S. data , as well as the Italian Senate's approval of a $40-billion austerity plan. At last check, the German DAX has climbed 0.4%, the French CAC 40 is 1% higher, and London's FTSE 100 ended a half-day of trading up 1%.
Currencies and Commodities
The greenback is on the decline this morning, with the U.S. dollar index down 0.2%. Crude oil, meanwhile, has continued its journey toward the century mark, with the front-month contract last seen 0.4% higher at $99.93 per barrel. On the flip side, gold futures are fractionally lower, with the malleable metal lingering near $1,610.40 an ounce.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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