Day Ahead: H-P's Pleasant Surprise

 | Feb 21, 2014 | 8:30 AM EST
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As earnings season winds down, U.S. markets appear to be heating up, possibly ending this holiday-shortened week on the plus side. Despite the prospect of more bad news in the housing market later this morning and the influence of options expiration, stock futures were pointing to a positive open Friday morning, following strength in European and Asian markets.

At 10 a.m., the National Association of Realtors will release existing home sales data for January. Economists predict a decline to an annual pace of 4.65 million units from 4.87 million units the previous month.

Late Thursday, PC maker Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) delivered a pleasant surprise to investors, beating earnings estimates by $0.06 per share, surpassing sales forecasts and raising the low end of its full-year guidance. Shares were slightly higher in premarket trading.

Groupon (GRPN) also beat EPS and sales views handily, but a weak profit outlook sent the online discounter's shares more than 10% lower in premarket trading. Nordstrom (JWN) beat EPS calls by $0.03 but the retailer missed first-quarter and full-year profit calls as same-store sales fell 3.3%, pressuring the shares in early trading.

Rounding out last night's reports, financial software maker Intuit (INTU) delivered in-line profit and sales; Priceline (PCLN) issued a wide EPS beat and an upside sales surprise; WebMD (WBMD) beat EPS estimates by a penny; and Express Scripts' (ESRX) quarterly net income was in line with expectations.

This morning, rising net income and a boost in pay-TV subscribers helped DISH Network's (DISH) stock move up 5% in the premarket.

There are no earnings releases schedules after the close.

For Fed watchers, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard will deliver remarks about the economy and monetary policy at 1:10 p.m. ET, and the Dallas Fed's Richard Fisher will offer his economic outlook in Austin at 1:45 p.m. ET.

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we like this chart here, it appears ready to move higher. BOUGHT BZUN OCT 35 CALL AT 3.40
Large-cap, high-quality McKesson (MCK) is too cheap now, at $147.51 or so. The stock hit $243.60 more than 2.5...



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