Sentiment remains mixed on Thursday, after the weakness engendered by Apple's (AAPL) results and insipid new home sales data were offset by some positive blue chip earnings released yesterday. Earnings continue to relay weakness on the top line, as most companies are fighting tooth and nail to counter weak consumer and business demand due to the ongoing debt turmoil in Europe. Most firms are very cautious on their forward outlook. The markets now look ahead to data on weekly jobless claims, durable goods orders and pending home sales for trading cues.
As of 6:15 am ET, the Dow futures are adding 8 points and the S&P 500 futures are edging up 0.40 points, while the Nasdaq 100 futures are moving down 0.25 points.
U.S. stocks moved about in a lackluster note on Wednesday before closing mixed, as economic worries and Apple's earnings miss curbed risk appetite even as a few high profile earnings beat helped offset some of the pessimism.
On the economic front, the Commerce Department is set to release its durable goods orders report at 8:30 am ET. Economists expect a 0.6 percent increase in durable goods orders for June following a 1.3 percent increase in the previous months. Excluding transportation, orders may have risen 0.2 percent.
The Labor Department is due to release its customary jobless claims report for the week ended July 21st at 8:30 am ET. Economists expect claims to edge down to 380,000 in the recent reporting week 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 0.9 percent in June, slower than the 5.9 percent increase in the previous month.
In corporate news, O'Reilly (ORLY) reported better than expected second quarter results, while its revenues were slightly shy of estimates. The company raised its earnings outlook for the full year.
Helca Mining (HL) announced an offer to buy all outstanding shares of U.S. Silver Corp. for C$1.80 per share in cash. Raytheon (RTN) announced a $925 million contract award by the Missile Defense Agency for the development of the Standard Missile-3 Block IIA missile.
Zynga (ZNGA) reported below consensus second quarter earnings and revenues. The company lowered its 2012 adjusted earnings per share guidance to below consensus estimates. Western Digital (WDC) reported fourth quarter earnings and revenues that comfortably beat analysts' estimates.
Flextronics (FLEX) reported better than expected first quarter earnings, while its revenues were slightly shy of estimates. The company's second quarter guidance was downbeat.
Akamai Technologies (AKAM) reported strong second quarter results and issued upbeat guidance for the third quarter. Meanwhile, Las Vegas Sands' (LVS) second quarter earnings and revenues trailed estimates.
Amazon (AMZN), Amgen (AMGN), BJ Restaurants (BJRI), CA Tech (CA), Expedia (EXPE), Facebook (FB), Gen-Probe (GPRO), Gilead Sciences (GILD), Global Payment (GPN), Hutchinson Technology (HTCH), Ingram Micro (IM), Maxim Integrated (MXIM), Netsuite (N), Qlogic (QGLC), Starbucks (SBUX), Tellabs (TLAB) and Verisign (VRSN) are among the companies due to release their results after the markets close.
The Asian markets closed on a mixed note, with the Australian, Hong Kong, Japanese, New Zealand, Singaporean and South Korean markets advancing, while the Taiwanese, Malaysian, Indonesian, Indian and Chinese markets retreated.
Japan's Nikkei 225 average closed up 77.20 points or 0.92 percent at 8,443. Olympus rallied close to 10 percent on the news that Terumo is looking to invest in and merge with the company, while Yahoo Japan gained about 8 percent. Nomura added over 5 percent ahead of its earnings release. The company also announced the resignation of its CEO and CEO due to an insider trading scandal.
After some early apprehension, Australia's All Ordinaries hovered in positive territory for the bulk of the session. The index closed up 22.40 points or 0.54 percent at 4,174. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed at 18,893, up 15.46 points or 0.08 percent.
In a central bank decision, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand opted to leave its official cash rate unchanged at 2.50 percent, the level at which it has been since March 2011. Japan's corporate service prices eased in June, according to a report released by the Bank of Japan. The corporate service price index fell 0.3 percent year-over-year, while economists expected a 0.1 percent increased.
The major European averages are trading mixed amid the release of mixed earnings reports. The apprehension reflected caution ahead of a trio of key U.S. economic reports due to be released later in the global trading day and the fluid domestic fiscal situation.
The results of a consumer confidence survey by the GfK Institute showed that German consumer sentiment is set to improve slightly in August.
In corporate news, Alcatel-Luncent (ALU) announced plans to slash 5,000 jobs, as the beleaguered telecommunication equipment struggles to turn around its business. The company reported an adjusted operating loss of 31 million euros for its second quarter.
Unilever (UL) reported underlying sales growth of 5.8 percent for its second quarter, which was ahead of estimates by most analysts. German engineering company Siemens (SI) reported lower than expected second quarter earnings and sales and also cautioned that it may tough to attain its full year earnings target.
by RTT Staff Writer
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