The Day Ahead: U.S. Looks to Follow Europe Higher

 | Jan 23, 2012 | 8:15 AM EST
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In the Headlines

Wall Street appeared ready to open the week with moderate gains.

In Europe, finance officials were meeting Monday to discuss terms for restructuring Greece's debt, part of a second round of bailout funding. On Sunday, private creditors stated the limits on losses they are willing to accept.

European stocks were trading higher, and the euro continued rallying off lows from earlier this month, showing gains vs. the greenback.

Financials were among leaders in European trade Monday. France and Germany have called for an easing of capital requirements on the region's banks, giving the sector a boost.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei finished Monday flat, while exchanges in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Seoul were closed for the lunar New Year.

Economic Docket

There are no significant econ reports due out from government agencies in the U.S. A survey from the National Association of Business Economists showed optimism that U.S. GDP would grow by at least 2% this year, but not enough to make a sizeable dent in the unemployment rate.

West Texas Intermediate was perched just below $100, at $99.40 per barrel, up $1.07. Some buying was spurred by a European Union embargo of Iranian oil.

Gold was trading at $1,674.30 per ounce in early Comex trade, up $10.30.

Company News

In company headlines, Research In Motion (RIMM)'s co-CEOs stepped down, handing the reins to insider Thorsten Heins, who had been COO. Former CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis are not leaving the company entirely; they will remain on the board.

RIMM shares were up $0.76 ahead of the bell, 4.47%, to $17.76.

Oil-and-gas explorer and producer Apache (APA) said it would acquire privately held Cordillera Energy Partners in a cash-and-stock deal worth about $2.85 billion. The move doubles Apache's presence in the Anardako basin in Texas and Oklahoma.


A premarket earnings report came from oil-and-gas services company Halliburton (HAL), which reported fourth-quarter income of $1 per share, a penny better than views. Revenue also topped expectations, coming in at $7.1 billion. Analysts had anticipated $6.8 billion.

Halliburton was up $0.30, 0.83%, to $36.50.

After the close today, Texas Instruments (TXN) is expected to report fourth-quarter earnings of $0.39 on revenue of $3.25 billion. The stock bolted 8.7% last week in heavy volume after mid-cap chipmaker Linear Technology (LLTC) reported better-than-expected quarterly results.

Another tech-sector name due out after the bell is VMware (VMW). The maker of virtualization software for business customers is seen earning $0.60 per share on revenue of $1.05 billion.

Market Movers

Bank of America (BAC), which is up more than 27% so far this month, added to its gains ahead of the bell. The stock was up $0.07, 0.99, to $7.14.

Another premarket mover was Ford (F), accelerating $0.02, 0.16%, to $12.61. The company reports its fourth quarter later this week, with analysts eyeing top- and bottom-line declines from a year ago.

Analyst Actions

DJIA component Procter & Gamble (PG) fell $0.33, 0.50%, to $65.90 ahead of the bell. Stifel Nicolaus downgraded the stock to Hold from Buy, citing valuation.

Panera Bread (PNRA), which rallied to an all-time high last week, was demoted to Market Perform from Outperform by Raymond James. Here, too, valuation concerns were behind the move.

Columnist Conversations

today is a good day to lighten the load and take some positions off the table. SOLD WB OCT 85 CALL AT 11 (i...
I reached out last week to my close friend Ken Shreve, who is a prominent writer for the IBD.  I asked Ke...
I reached out last week to my close friend Ken Shreve, who is a prominent writer for the IBD.  I asked Ke...
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