Day Ahead: Consumer Data Dominate

 | Mar 25, 2014 | 8:30 AM EDT  | Comments
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Anticipation for key consumer and housing reports has pointed stock futures toward a possible rebound Tuesday morning. Meanwhile, European markets were also trading higher, though Asian markets finished mostly lower, mirroring the previous selloff in the U.S.

The Nasdaq weighed on the slumping indices Monday, losing about 1% to reach its lowest level in a month as biotech stocks continued their swoon. The S&P 500 and Dow had managed to recover much of their earlier losses late in the day, but both still fell short of achieving gains.

Attention turns now to the U.S. consumer, with key reports filtering in throughout the morning. The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city housing index was slightly better than expected in January, rising 0.8% and keeping pace with December's 0.8% gain. Also, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said its housing price index rose 0.5% in January, more than economists had forecast, vs. a downwardly revised 0.7% gain the previous month. 

February new-home sales are expected to dip to 440,000 units on an annualized basis vs. 468,000 the previous month. And the Conference Board's consumer-confidence index is expected to rise to 78.4 in March vs. 78.1 the previous month. Those reports are set to come out at 10 a.m. ET. 

Leading today's earnings calendar, drugstore chain Walgreen (WAG) reported fiscal second-quarter net income that was a penny per share below estimates, even as same-store sales rose. Spice-and-condiment maker McCormick (MKC), meanwhile, beat top- and bottom-line forecasts in its fiscal first quarter. And analysts expect cruise-ship operator Carnival (CCL) to lose $0.08 per share in the fiscal first quarter on revenue of $3.56 billion.

Late Monday, restaurant chain Sonic (SONC) served up mixed results, beating profit estimates by a penny per share.

After the close, specialty retailer Five Below (FIVE) is expected to earn $0.45 per share on $208 million in fourth-quarter sales, while analysts are calling for apparel manufacturer PVH (PVH) to sew up $1.42 per share on sales of $2.1 billion in its fourth quarter.

Stocks to watch:

  • Tiffany (TIF) shares were falling in premarket trading on news that Goldman Sachs had removed the jeweler from its Conviction Buy list.
  • Disney (DIS) said it is buying Maker Studios, a producer of YouTube videos, for $500 million.
  • Safeway (SWY) has declared a special dividend related to its spin-off of Blackhawk Network.

This evening, Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhart and Philly Fed head Charles Plosser are scheduled to speak in Atlanta and New York, respectively.

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