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Wall Street's Focus Shifts To Data Amid Earnings Flow


Sentiment on Wall Street has soured on Thursday, as yesterday's earnings-induced rally faces threat from underlying economic uncertainties. The earnings deluge continues and traders get to digest another batch of earnings reports from several important companies. The jobless claims report and the pending home sales report may shed further clarity on the economic outlook and consequently could impact market mood.

As of 6:30 am ET, the Dow futures are slipping 19 points, the S&P 500 futures are down 1.70 points and the Nasdaq 100 futures are declining 4.75 points.

U.S. stocks advanced solidly on Thursday, as earnings optimism and the FOMC decision brought cheer back to the markets. In the process, traders ignored a weak durable goods orders reports.

On the economic front, the Labor Department is due to release its customary jobless claims report for the week ended April 21stat 8:30 am ET. Economists expect claims to decline to 375,000 from 386,000 in the previous week.

Additionally, data on pending home sales, which is a leading indicator of housing market activity released by the National Association of Realtors, is due out at 10 AM ET. The index is expected to have risen 1 percent in March after it declined by 0.5 percent in the previous month.

MetroPCS (PCS) reported a decline in its first quarter earnings, while revenues exceeded estimates. Time Warner Cable's (TWC) first quarter earnings beat estimates, while its revenues were in line. Starwood Hotels & Resorts (HOT) reported better than expected first quarter earnings, while it raised its full year earnings guidance above consensus estimates.

O' Reilly Automotive (ORLY) reported better than expected first quarter results. The company's full year guidance surrounded the consensus estimate.

Cabot Oil & Gas (COG) reported first quarter adjusted earnings that came in line with estimates, while revenues trailed expectations.

Rock-Tenn's (RKT) first quarter results exceeded estimates. Meanwhile, Cliff Natural (CLF) said its first quarter earnings fell to $2.63 per share from $3.11 per share last year. Revenues rose from a year-ago and beat analysts' estimates.

Oceaneering (OII) announced a 3 cent per share increase in its quarterly dividend after it reported first quarter earnings and revenues that exceeded expectations. The company maintained its full year earnings per share guidance.

Xilinx (XLNX) reported fourth quarter earnings of 49 cents per share, ahead of the 41 cents per share consensus estimate. Net revenues were also above expectations. The company's first quarter revenue guidance also exceeded estimates.

Watson (WPI) announced a deal to acquire Actavis for an upfront payment of 4.25 billion euros.

Emulex (ELX) reported better than expected results for its third quarter and issued an upbeat guidance for its fourth quarter.

H&R Block (HRB) announced some strategic initiatives, including the elimination of 350 positions and closing 200 underperforming company-owned offices. The company also issued 2012 earnings and revenue guidance, which were below estimates. The company also said it has initiated a search for a new CFO.

Amazon.com (AMZN), Applied Micro (AMCC), BJ Restaurants (BJRI), Callaway Golf (ELY), Choice Hotels (CHH), Clearwire (CLWR), Deckers Outdoor (DECK), Eastman Chemical (EMN), Expedia (EXPE), Gilead Sciences (GILD), Ingram Micro (IM), KLA-Tencor (KLAC), MetLife (MET), NetSuite (N), Starbucks (SBUX), Verisign (VRSN), Western Digital (WDC) and Wynn Resorts (WYNN) are among the important companies due to release their quarterly results after the markets close.

The major Asian markets, with the exception of the Indian, Chinese and Taiwanese markets, closed higher, as traders took cues from the strong finish on Wall Street overnight.

Japan's Nikkei 225 closed up just 0.82 points or 0.01 percent at 9,562 after seeing some strength in the morning. Friday's monetary policy decision from the Bank of Japan introduced caution among investors.

Australia's All Ordinaries added 11.10 points or 0.25 percent before closing at 4,445, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed at 20,810, up 163.42 points or 0.79 percent.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand left its key official cash rate unchanged at a record low, with a stronger kiwi being cited as a concern by the central bank.

European stocks are seeing mixed sentiment following two sessions of strong gains, as traders reacted to mixed earnings.

Deutsche Bank (DB) reported disappointing results, while Barclays (BCS) released strong results for its first quarter. Unilever (UL) reported first quarter underlying sales growth of 8.4 percent, as total sales rose 11.9 percent to 12.1 billion euros. Brewer Pernod-Ricard reported third quarter sales growth of 5 percent.

Fresenius announced a deal to buy Rhoen-Klinikum for 3.1 billion euros and also reported 18 percent growth in its first quarter profit.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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