Optimism seems to be deserting Wall Street on Friday, as indicated by the index futures, which point to a lower opening. The overbought levels of the markets may make traders extremely wary of the uncertainties surrounding the fiscal situation in Greece, potential adverse impact of the recent climb in oil prices and stray soft incoming economic evidence that raises doubts about the strength of the recovery. Germany reported an unexpected decline in retail sales, which spoiled market mood in Europe. Commodities are moving modestly lower and the dollar is gaining ground.
As of 6:30 am ET, the Dow futures are receding 18 points, the S&P 500 futures are slipping 2.80 points and the Nasdaq 100 futures are moving down 3.75 points.
U.S. stayed afloat for much of Thursday's session, encouraged by a positive jobless claims data, strong auto and chain store sales and optimistic expectations concerning Greece. The gains came despite the release of some disappointing economic data.
The economic calendar of the day is light, with a Fed speech scheduled for the day.
St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard is scheduled to speak to the BMO Bank of Montreal Lecture in Economics on "The U.S. economy in the Aftermath of the Financial Crisis" in Vancouver at 8 pm ET.
In corporate news, Big Lots (BIG) said its fourth quarter earnings climbed to $1.75 per share from $1.46 per share last year. Total sales rose to $1.67 billion. The results were ahead of estimates. The company also said it expects non-GAAP earnings of 75-81 cents per share for the first quarter and $3.40-$3.50 per share for 2011. Meanwhile, analysts estimate earnings of 81 cents per share for the first quarter and $3.46 per share for 2011.
Foot Locker (FL) reported fourth quarter non-GAAP earnings of 55 cents per share compared to 39 cents per share last year. Sales rose to $1.5 billion from $1.39 billion last year. The results were ahead of estimates.
WGL Holdings (WGL) announced an increase in its quarterly dividend to $0.40 per share from $0.3875 per share.
JDA Software (JDAS) said it has received a letter from the NASDAQ staff notifying that the company in no longer in compliance with the NASDAQ listing rule due to it not having yet filed its annual report on Form 10-K for the period ended December 31st, 2011.
Esterline (ESL) reported first quarter income from continuing operations of 73 cents per share compared to 97 cents per share last year. The recent quarter's results included charges amounting to 25 cents per share. Sales rose to $470.9 million from $370.8 million last year. The company also raised its 2012 earnings per share outlook.
The Asian markets rose across the board, encouraged by the positive close on Wall Street overnight. Financial stocks led the gains, as the European Central Bank's injection of cheap money into the market eased concerns of strains in the financial system.
Japan's Nikkei 225 average climbed 69.66 points or 0.72 percent at 9,777 and Australia's All Ordinaries added 18.10 points or 0.42 percent before closing at 4,364. Additionally, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended up 174.30 points or 0.81 percent at 21,562.
The major European markets are seeing mixed sentiment after yesterday's gains, with sentiment hurt by a sour German retail sakes data.
The German DAX Index is slipping 0.11 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is receding 0.19 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index is rising 0.09 percent.
The Eurogroup, which met at Brussels yesterday, gave provisional approval for the disbursal of the second round of bailout package to Greece. Immediately, Greece would receive part of the funding, as it recapitalizes its banks and goes about its debt reduction efforts through swapping of bonds with its private sector creditors. The Eurogroup leaders also agreed to expedite their contribution to the Eurozone bailout fund. Meanwhile, the European Union signed the fiscal compact to enforce tougher budget discipline.
by RTT Staff Writer
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