The Day Ahead: Greece Woes Causing Selloff

 | Sep 19, 2011 | 8:30 AM EDT  | Comments
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In the Headlines

New doubts about Greece's ability to slash expenses and avoid default are sending global stocks lower Monday. Wall Street futures are joining in the selloff, pointing to a sharply lower open to start the week.

Greek financial officials are set for a conference call with representatives of the European Union (EU), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to hammer out steps for the next round of bailout money.

European indices notched significant losses early Monday, with eurozone financials leading the way down. Renewed concerns about a Greek default stoked fear about banks' exposure to the nation's debt. The euro slipped vs. the dollar ahead of Wall Street's opening bell.

Asian indices finished mostly lower Monday, after the weekend's meeting of eurozone finance officials in Poland failed to result in concrete plans to stem Europe's debt crisis. Asian banks were also victims of a Monday selloff. Tokyo's Nikkei was shuttered for a holiday.

It will be a busy week for housing news, starting with data today from the National Association of Home Builders. The trade group releases its September index at 10 a.m. EDT. The reading is expected to come in at 15, unchanged from August.

At 10:30 a.m. EDT, President Obama is set to speak about his plan to cut the federal the deficit. Part of the plan includes an increase in taxes for corporations and wealthy individuals. Political pundits say GOP resistance likely means the president's plan, in its current form, will not get through Congress.

Commodities Corner

In commodities trade, crude oil fell $0.85, to $87.11 per barrel. Gold, which has been range-bound in recent weeks, rose $8.40 to $1,823.10 per ounce.  

Copper, often dubbed "Dr. Copper" for its price's ability to forecast global industrial activity, matched its 2011 low in electronic trade. The industrial metal dropped $0.1165 per pound, to $3.82.

Company News

In company news, Tyco (TYC) said it would split into three separate companies. Its residential security, commercial fire and security, and flow control units would be spun off as separate entities to shareholders. Tyco's board expects to complete the transactions in about a year. Tyco shares jumped $3.10 in early trade, 7.09%, to $46.80 in premarket trade.

The earnings scorecard is fairly empty today, with the most closely watched report coming from home builder and S&P 500 component Lennar (LEN). The company's third-quarter earnings met Wall Street expectations of $0.11 per share. Revenue of $820.2 million beat views of $794.4 million. Those marked year-over-year drops on the top and bottom lines.

Like all builders' stocks, Lennar has taken a beating this year, and is mired below key moving averages. Following the earnings announcement, Lennar shares rose $0.45, 3.26%, to $14.25 in the premarket.

Early Movers

An early decliner was Netflix (NFLX), shedding $0.69, a relatively meager 0.44%, to $154.40. Over the weekend, CEO Reed Hastings blogged that the company will rebrand its DVD-by-mail service as Qwikster. Customers will see separate billing lines on their credit card statements.

Hastings also acknowledged that he "messed up" in communicating recent price changes, which are expected to result in greater-than-expected customer defections.

Goodrich (GR) bolted $11.41 ahead of the bell, 12.28%, to $104.30, on news, which broke Friday, that United Technologies (UTX) is considering a takeover bid for the maker of landing gear, wheels and other airplane parts. United Technologies was down a nickel in early trade, a fractional decline, to $75.45.

Analyst Actions

United's fellow Dow component, Caterpillar (CAT), dropped $1.46, 1.70%, to $84.44 following a Raymond James downgrade to Outperform from Strong Buy. Raymond James cited a slower economy and uncertain demand when making the move.

Bristol-Myers (BMY) was upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies, which cited better earnings expectations and the likelihood that the company will be acquired in the next two years. Despite the upgrade, Bristol-Myers shares slipped $0.11, 0.36%, to $30.42 ahead of Monday's open.

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