The Day Ahead: Moody's Sends Black Valentines

 | Feb 14, 2012 | 8:30 AM EST  | Comments
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Stock quotes in this article:

avp

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kors

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znga

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BA. LL

In the Headlines

Moody's didn't exactly send the markets a valentine this morning, as it slashed ratings on some European nations. However, major indices around the globe essentially shrugged it off, moving higher on Tuesday.

NYSE and Nasdaq futures indicated a slightly higher open on Wall Street.

Overseas, European markets reversed off earlier losses, posting gains before U.S. trading got under way. Bond rater Moody's cut ratings on Spain, Italy and Portugal, among other countries. It also slashed its outlook on the U.K., France and Austria.

The euro eked out a small gain vs. the dollar early Tuesday.

Asian stocks ended mixed. The Bank of Japan said it would expand its asset buying, and set a near-term goal of 1% consumer inflation. The Nikkei finished 0.69% higher Tuesday, while the Shanghai Composite closed lower.

Economic Docket

In today's round of economic reports, the Commerce Department is set to issue January retail sales data at 8:30 a.m. EST. Analysts have pegged the monthly increase at 0.9%.

Also at 8:30 a.m., the Labor Department will release import prices for January. Economists see a rise of 0.3%.

Meanwhile, business inventories are expected to have grown 0.5% last month. The Commerce Department issues those data at 10 a.m.

Commodities Corner

Crude oil was back above the $100-per-barrel mark. West Texas Intermediate gained $0.55 in early Nymex trade, to $101.46 per barrel.

Gold shed $3.60 per ounce to $1,721.30 early Tuesday.

Earnings News

Tuesday's round of earnings news includes Avon Products' (AVP) fourth-quarter report. Revenue was $3 billion, down from a year ago, and below analysts' views. Earnings per share also came in below estimates, at $0.39 a share. Wall Street had expected $0.51 per share.

The company is under investigation because of some bribery scandals, and separately, its CEO will be stepping down from her post. Shares fell by $1.29, 7.36%, to $16.24 in the premarket.

A company that made its debut recently, Michael Kors (KORS), reported early Tuesday. The stock has been on fire, racing 68% since its December IPO. The upscale clothing and accessories retailer was expected to earn $0.09 per share on sales of $349.20 million. Earnings trounced views, coming in at $0.28 per share on revenue of $354 million. The shares bolted $4.60, or 13.69%, to $38.21 on the news.

Recent social media gaming IPO Zynga (ZNGA) reports after the close. It's seen earning $0.04 per share, which would be a decrease from the year-ago quarter. Revenue is expected to be $274.70 million, a significant year-over-year increase.

Zynga went public in December at $10. Like other social media stocks, it got a boost this month as Facebook filed for its upcoming IPO. Shares climbed $0.18, or 1.35%, to $13.60 ahead of Tuesday's opening bell.

Market Movers

Another early mover was DJIA component Boeing (BA), advancing $0.66, or 0.88%, to $75.51. The company inked a deal with Indonesia's Lion air for 230 planes. The contract is valued at $22.4 billion.

Analyst Actions

Tuesday analyst actions included a Janney Capital downgrade of Lumber Liquidators (LL) to Sell from Neutral. The analyst cited valuation, a mature business and growing competition. The shares have been consolidating since a rally attempt last summer. The company's sales and earnings performance improved in the most recent quarter.

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