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Wall Street On Pause Mode


Despite Greek hopes, Wall Street's mood seems to be nervous, as indicated by the U.S. index futures, which point to a narrowly mixed opening. Further upside seems less likely, given the overbought levels of the markets, unless a breakthrough is achieved on the Greek bailout decision. There may be some theoretical interest in the consumer price inflation report and the Conference Board's leading economic indicators index, although both do not qualify as market movers. Earnings from some consumer staple stocks due to be released ahead of the market open may create some ripples in the market.

As of 6:30 am ET, the Dow futures are rising 8 points, while the S&P 500 futures are down 0.20 points and the Nasdaq 100 futures are moving down 2 points.

A few economic numbers gave the much-needed thrust for the markets on Thursday, sending stocks higher despite lingering anxieties concerning Greece. The Dow Industrials closed near 4-year highs.

On the economic front, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its consumer price index for January at 8:30 am ET. Economists expect the headline index to have increased 0.3 percent compared to a 0.2 percent increase in core inflation. In December, the consumer price index remained unchanged compared with the previous month, while the core inflation rate came in at 0.1 percent.

Additionally, the Conference Board is scheduled to release a report on the U.S. leading index for January at 10 am ET. The consensus estimate calls for a 0.5 percent increase in the leading indicators index for the month compared to a 0.4 percent increase in the previous month.

In corporate news, Baidu (BIDU) reported fourth quarter adjusted earnings of 95 cents per share on revenues of $710.9 million. The results were ahead of estimates. For the first quarter, the company expects revenues of $666.5 million to $688 million, which surrounded the consensus estimate.

Nordstrom (JWN) reported fourth quarter earnings that exceeded estimates by a penny, while revenues were in line with estimates. The full year 2012 earnings guidance was below estimates.

Applied Materials (AMAT) reported better than expected first quarter results. The company's second quarter guidance was also above consensus estimates.
EOG Resources' (EOG) fourth quarter adjusted earnings came in ahead of estimates. The company also announced an increase in its quarterly dividend.
SunPower (SPWR) reported better than expected fourth quarter earnings, while its full year revenue guidance was in line with estimates.

DDR's (DDR) fourth quarter operating funds from operation per share were in line, while revenues exceeded estimates. For 2012, the company continues to expect operating funds from operation of 98 cents to $1.04 per share.

Barnes Group (B), Brookfield Asset Management (BAM), EnCana (ECA), HJ Heinz (HNZ) and Campbell Soup (CPB) are among the important companies due to release their quarterly results before the markets open.

The major Asian markets rebounded on Friday, as Wall Street's positive performance overnight triggered a wave of buying interest. Reports that the ECB is considering exchanging its Greek bond holdings with new bonds in a bid to reduce losses before a deal is negotiated with private sector creditors also offered encouragement.

Japan's Nikkei 225 average opened notably higher and moved sideways for the rest of the session, ending up 146.07 points or 1.58 percent at 9,384. Australia's All Ordinaries added 16.10 points or 0.38 percent before closing at 4,273. Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 214.34 points or 1.01 percent to 21,492.

The major European markets are also advancing on Greek deal hopes, with all the three major indexes in the region trading with notable gains.

Anglo American reported 23 percent growth in full year underlying profit, which exceeded estimates. French cement marker Lafarge reported a loss for its fourth quarter, although operating income, excluding one-time items, was above estimates. The company also announced halving of its dividend. Dutch insurer Aegon reported a sharp decline in fourth quarter profits.

In economic news, a report released by the U.K. Office for National Statistics showed that U.K.'s retail sales rose unexpectedly in January, as demand for household goods surged up.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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