The Day Ahead: Various Events on Tap

 | Feb 07, 2012 | 8:30 AM EST  | Comments
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In the Headlines

Another day, another round of austerity talks in Greece.

Wall Street futures pointed lower Tuesday, with traders not only awaiting not only Greek debt-related news, but also Congressional testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and some high-profile earnings reports.

With Greek politicians still wrangling over spending cuts, necessary to get the OK for more bailout money, European stocks were trading to the downside. Fresh worries about the possibility of a Greek default resulted in selling.

The euro slipped, relative to the dollar, but remained above last month's lows.

Asian indices ended Tuesday's session lower, as traders expressed disappointment at the lack of an interest-rate cut from Beijing. Greek debt concerns also cast a shadow on trade throughout Asia.

Economic Docket

The most eagerly anticipated piece of economic news today comes from Capitol Hill, where Fed chief Ben Bernanke is scheduled to testify in front of the Senate Budget Committee. He's almost certain to be grilled on the central bank's economic forecast and likelihood of further money printing. Occasionally, his remarks from these events will affect stocks.

The Treasury Department is set to auction off $32 billion in three-year notes at 1 p.m. EST.

At 3 p.m., the Federal Reserve is scheduled to release data on December consumer credit, expected to increase by $8.5 billion, down from November's rise of $20.4 billion. This report, which is subject to large revisions, generally does not affect equity markets.

Commodities Corner

In U.S. commodities trade, West Texas Intermediate fell by $1 per barrel to $95.91. Analysts estimate that U.S. crude oil stockpiles are growing.

Gold dropped $11.40 per ounce, to 1713.50 in early Comex trade.

Earnings News

Tuesday's earnings reports included fourth-quarter results from DJIA component Coca-Cola (KO). It earned $0.79 a share, excluding items, which was $0.02 ahead of views. Sales were a bit better than expected, coming in at $11.04 billion. Wall Street had anticipated $10.99 billion. The company said non-carbonated beverages were among its best performers. Coke shares bubbled up $0.21, 0.31%, to $68.24 ahead of the bell.

Generic drug maker Perrigo (PRGO), which has been a growth standout, is also due out before the open. It's expected to report income of $1.16 per share on revenue of $809.91 million. The stock has slipped in each of the last three months. Going into Tuesday's session, it was getting support at its 40-week moving average.

After the close, Walt Disney (DIS) reports its first quarter. It's expected to earn $0.72 a share on revenue of $11.18 billion. Disney shares were up $0.29, 0.72%, to $40.75 in the premarket.

Also reporting later today is Panera Bread (PNRA), which rallied to an all-time high Monday. The restaurant chain is expected to earn $1.42 a share on sales of $499.03 million.

Early Movers

Premarket movers included another restaurant chain, Yum! Brands (YUM). The stock advanced $0.81, 1.28%, to $64. Late Monday, the company said fourth-quarter income rose on strong business in China.

Medical gear maker Becton Dickinson (BDX) plunged $5.52, or 6.85%, to $75.01 in the premarket. The company reported its first quarter before Tuesday's open, and slashed its full-year earnings outlook.

Analyst Actions

Citigroup downgraded pharmacy and retail chain Walgreen (WAG) to Sell from Neutral, saying a resolution of the dispute between the store and pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts ESRX is unlikely this year.

Meanwhile, Brean Murray demoted Urban Outfitters (URBN) to Sell from Hold, citing valuation and high earnings expectations. The analyst shop also downgraded accessories retailer Fossil (FOSL) to Hold from Buy, on the same concerns.

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