The Day Ahead: Greece Is Still the Word

 | Feb 08, 2012 | 9:00 AM EST  | Comments
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CSCO. DIS

In the Headlines

U.S. equity futures indicated a moderately higher open Wednesday, with -- you guessed it -- another round of optimism about a Greek deal spurring upside trade on global markets.

European indices showed gains before Wall Street's open, boosted by hope that Greece really is getting closer to an aid agreement with the European Union and International Monetary Fund. A deal is necessary for the debt-ridden nation to receive its next round of bailout money.

The euro edged slightly higher vs. the greenback early Wednesday.

In Asia, indices also were buoyed by hope about progress on the Greek front. Japan's Nikkei finished with a 1.10% gain, helped by a solid outlook from Toyota TM, which drove other automakers higher.

Economic Docket

It's a slow day for U.S. economic reports. The Mortgage Bankers Association, which releases loan application data every Wednesday, said the volume rose 7.5% last week. Refinancing applications accounted for the bulk of activity.

Commodities Corner

At 10:30 a.m. EST, the Energy Department is set to release its weekly tally of crude oil reserves. On Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute showed a decrease in stockpiles, indicating stronger demand.

In electronic trading, crude oil rose $0.99 per barrel, to $99.40.

Gold was up by $0.30 an ounce, to $1,748.70.

Industrial metal copper also showed gains, advancing $0.0445, to $3.92 per pound.

Earnings News

Time Warner (TWX) earned $0.94 per share, excluding items, topping views of $0.87 a share. Revenue was $8.2 billion, also ahead of expectations, which had called for $8.06 billion. The company also raised its dividend, and said it would buy back as much as $4 billion in shares. Time Warner shares bolted $1.80, or 4.72%, to $39.90 in early trade.

Sprint Nextel (S) reported a steeper-than-expected loss in the fourth quarter. The shortfall was $0.43 a share. Wall Street had anticipated a loss of $0.37 per share. Revenue was in line with views, at $8.7 billion. However, THE shares rose by $0.13 in the premarket, 5.31%, to $2.58, given a lift by strong new subscriber numbers.

After today's close, Visa (V) is scheduled to report its fiscal first-quarter results, with Wall Street pegging earnings at $1.45 per share on revenue of $2.47 billion.

Also reporting later today is Whole Foods Market (WFM), which is expected to earn $0.60 a share on revenue of $3.38 billion.

An eagerly anticipated report after Wednesday's close will come from DJIA component Cisco (CSCO). The network gear maker is expected to deliver income of $0.93 a share on revenue of $19.41 billion.

Disney (DIS) fell $0.38, 0.93%, to $40.60 in the premarket. Late Tuesday, the company beat earnings views, but revenue fell short. Theme parks and TV properties, such as ESPN, were standouts. The movie side of the business showed a loss.

Analyst Actions

Analyst actions Thursday included a Goldman Sachs upgrade of Yum! Brands (YUM) to Neutral from Sell. The analyst cited better-than-expected China sales, which were reported earlier this week, and a rebound in U.S. business.

IPO Events

In IPO news, casino and hotel operator Caesars Entertainment sold 1.8 million shares at $9 apiece, the midpoint of its planned range. The stock begins trading today on the Nasdaq under the symbol CZR.

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