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Opening View: Futures Lower as Wall Street Eyes Euro-Zone Meeting; RIMM Poised to Plunge

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After four straight finishes in the black, U.S. stocks are pointed south of breakeven this morning. While European indexes are mostly higher at midday, equities on this side of the Atlantic are singing a more cautious tune, with Wall Street eyeing a meeting of euro-zone finance ministers and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in Wroclaw, Poland. Meanwhile, on the corporate front, an abysmal earnings showing from Research In Motion Limited ( RIMM ) has added fuel to the bears' early fire, with the stock poised to plunge about 19.3% out of the gate. Ahead of the bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is lingering about 39 points below fair value, while the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) is set to test its footing in the 1,200 neighborhood.

Meanwhile, Diamond Foods (DMND - 78.23) banked a fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $8.5 million, or 37 cents per share, up 27% from its year-ago earnings of $6.7 million, or 30 cents per share. Excluding items, DMND earned 52 cents per share, while net sales jumped 32% to $232.8 million. Both figures bested analysts' estimates, with the Street looking for a profit of 44 cents per share on $216.3 million in revenue. For the full year, the snack foods firm raised its earnings guidance to a range between $3.05 and $3.15 per share, with revenue expected to arrive at $1.85 billion to $1.95 billion. The forecast falls roughly in line with analysts' expectations, which are calling for a profit of $3.10 per share on $1.87 billion in revenue. At last check, DMND is headed for a 4.8% gain out of the gate.

In other equities news, Texas Instruments (TXN - 27.71) announced that it's upping its quarterly cash dividend by 31% to 17 cents per share -- marking the company's biggest dividend hike since 2007. The increase "reflects the strategic shift of TI's product portfolio to a greater percentage of analog and embedded processing technologies, which generate high returns on investment and strong cash flow," the chip maker said. Ahead of the bell, the shares of TXN are up 2.9%.

Earnings Preview

Today's earnings docket will feature a report from Netsol Technologies (NTWK). Keep your browser at SchaeffersResearch.com for more news as it breaks.

Economic Calendar

Today wraps up with the preliminary Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for September.

Market Statistics

Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange ( CBOE ) saw 1,042,979 call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to 716,668 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio arrived at 0.69, while the 21-day moving average was 0.74.

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Overseas Trading

Stocks in Asia ended higher today, as traders had a chance to respond to Thursday's news that central banks around the world will coordinate to provide additional dollar liquidity to commercial banks. Improving sentiment about the state of the global economy proved particularly positive for exporters and commodities, with banks also catching a boost. By the close, South Korea's Kospi climbed 3.7%, Japan's Nikkei added 2.3%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng tacked on 1.4%, and China's Shanghai Composite edged 0.1% higher.

European benchmarks are also in positive territory, though the enthusiasm has tapered off slightly after Thursday's big rally. Traders are eyeing the aforementioned meeting between Treasury Secretary Geithner and several euro-zone finance ministers in Poland, where Geithner indicated that Europeans may want to expand the scope of their European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF) to make bond purchases and provide aid to struggling countries. At midday, the German DAX has gained 1.1%, London's FTSE 100 is up 0.7%, and the French CAC 40 has added 0.8%.

Currencies and Commodities

The greenback has reclaimed some ground this morning, with the U.S. dollar index up about 0.3% at last look. Elsewhere, crude oil futures are trading just south of breakeven, with the front-month contract down 8 cents, or 0.1%, at $89.51 per barrel. Gold futures, on the other hand, have bounced back from yesterday's drubbing, but have yet to muscle back atop $1,800 an ounce. At last check, the front-month contract has tacked on $5.60, or 0.3%, to linger near $1,787 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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