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Opening View: Futures Down as Investors Await Key Economic Reports

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Futures are trading lower this morning, as investors remain weary after Wednesday's bloody session. Specifically, disappointing economic data from home and continued concerns about the Greek debt situation resulted in a triple-digit loss for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA ) on Wednesday. However, it's a new day, and there is no shortage of economic reports to help put the wind back in the bulls' sails. Specifically, out this morning are reports on weekly jobless claims, May's housing starts and building permits, and the Philly Fed index for June, to name a few -- so check back at SchaeffersResearch.com for updates as they break.

Dow, S&P and Nasdaq futures

Finisar (FNSR - 17.73) reported a fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $16.4 million, or 17 cents per share, up 15% from its year-ago earnings of $14.2 million, or 19 cents per share. On an adjusted basis, earnings climbed to 33 cents per share, while revenue increased 26% to $236.9 million. The adjusted bottom-line results fell in line with consensus estimates, but analysts were hoping for healthier revenue of $242.8 million. Looking ahead, FNSR predicted first-quarter earnings of 16 cents to 20 cents per share, with revenue expected to range between $221 million and $236 million. Wall Street, by contrast, was looking for much stronger earnings of 36 cents per share on $251.8 million in revenue.

Lawson Software (LWSN - 11.17) offered a preview of its fiscal fourth-quarter results last night. The company expects earnings of 15 cents to 16 cents per share on revenue of $208 million to $212 million, compared to its year-ago earnings of 12 cents per share on $197 million in revenue. The preliminary figures fell roughly in line with analysts' expectations, which called for a profit of 15 cents per share on $212 million in revenue. Due to its pending acquisition by GGC Software Holdings, LWSN has no plans to conduct a conference call regarding its fourth-quarter results.

Home goods hotshot Pier 1 Imports, Inc. (PIR - 11.18) this morning reported that it earned $14.1 million, or 12 cents per share, in the first quarter, compared with $7.7 million, or 7 cents per share, a year ago. PIR also revealed that first-quarter same-store sales increased 10.2%. Revenue, meanwhile, rose 9.3% to $334.6 million. Analysts, on average, had expected PIR to post a profit of 12 cents per share on revenue of $335 million.

Finally, it seems that Macy's, Inc. (M - 27.29) and union officials will negotiate past the midnight deadline that had been set for a recent strike involving 4,000 workers in the New York City area. M's Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which represents the employees, is arguing over the company's proposed increases for new and existing employees, as well as vacation and benefit packages -- all of which the union says are inadequate.

Earnings Preview

Today's earnings docket will feature reports from Actuant ( ATU ), Kroger ( KR ), Smithfield Foods ( SFD ), and Research In Motion Limited ( RIMM ). Keep your browser at SchaeffersResearch.com for more news as it breaks.

Economic Calendar

The Labor Department will release the latest data on weekly jobless claims today. Also, we'll hear reports on May's housing starts and building permits, and the Philly Fed index for June. Finally, we'll finish the week with the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer confidence index for June, as well as the Conference Board's leading economic indicators for May.

Market Statistics

Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange ( CBOE ) saw 827,256 call contracts traded on Wednesday, compared to 917,156 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio docked at 1.11, while the 21-day moving average was perched at 0.74.

NYSE and Nasdaq summaryVolatility indices

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Overseas Trading

Asian stocks ended broadly lower today, pressured by a sell-off on Wall Street and simmering tensions over the Greek fiscal crisis. The combination of weak manufacturing data and rising inflation sparked worries about the state of the U.S. recovery, while talk of a revamped Greek government added fresh uncertainty to the prospect of a bailout for the cash-strapped country. Against this backdrop, equities in Hong Kong fell to a new 2011 nadir, with luggage giant Samsonite shedding nearly 8% in its trading debut. By the close, South Korea's Kospi declined 1.9%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng gave up 1.8%, Japan's Nikkei lost 1.7%, and China's Shanghai Composite dropped 1.5%.

Banking stocks are leading the laggards in Europe at midday, after Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou unveiled plans to form a new government in the wake of violent protests in Athens. Many analysts in the region are concerned that such a move will scuttle bailout efforts, potentially creating a massive shock wave to the financial system. At last check, London's FTSE 100 was down 1%, the French CAC 40 was 1.3% lower, and the German DAX dipped 1.1%.

Overseas markets

Currencies and Commodities

Black gold is dominating headlines this morning, after the International Energy Agency (IEA) said that there was a "clear need" for more OPEC oil this year, and upped its five-year oil price forecast by a substantial $19 per barrel. While this revised forecast signifies increased demand for oil, it ultimately will put more strain on the consumer -- and economic recovery. Ahead of the open, crude futures have pared their recent losses, trading 0.2% higher. Meanwhile, the greenback continues to climb as a result of Greece's continued sovereign debt saga, with the U.S. dollar index currently up 0.24 point, or 0.3%. Finally, gold futures are fractionally lower in the wake of a stronger dollar, down 0.04% at last check.

Currencies and commodities

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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