The Day Ahead: Tuckered Out

 | Oct 28, 2011 | 8:20 AM EDT
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U.S. equity futures were sleeping in Friday morning, following Thursday's breakneck race to substantial price gains on heavy volume.

NYSE and Nasdaq futures pointed to a moderately lower open.

Global Glance

European indices, meanwhile, pulled back from earlier gains and were showing moderate losses before the bell on Wall Street.

An Italian 10-year bond auction resulted in a yield of 6%, which may have jolted traders back into worries about what's coming next in Europe.

The euro edged lower vs. the dollar early Friday.

Asian stocks followed Wall Street's cue, finishing Friday's session with significant gains. Financials and manufacturers were among the best performers.

Data Docket

The week wraps up with some closely watched economic reports. At 8:30 a.m. EDT, the Commerce Department is out with personal income and spending data for September. Economists see income rising by 0.3% but spending showing a bigger increase of 0.6%.

At 9:55 a.m. EDT, the market gets to hear how consumers feel about all that spending, when the University of Michigan releases its final reading for October consumer sentiment. Analysts see a decline to 58.5 from the earlier reading of 59.4. If you'd surveyed investors about their sentiment after yesterday's market close, you might have seen sentiment skyrocketing.

Commodities Corner

Gold, which advanced Friday along with the equity markets, was down $7.80 in electronic trade, to $1,739.90 per ounce.

West Texas Intermediate crude fell $1.58 in early Nymex trade, to $92.38 per barrel.

Tech Tidbit

In early company news, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) said it would keep its PC unit, after all. New CEO Meg Whitman decided to abandon plans for ditching the unit. The company said its position as the No. 1 PC seller is valuable to its brand. In addition, it helps Hewlett-Packard boost its pricing power over suppliers by purchasing components in bulk.

Hewlett-Packard shares rose $0.12, 0.78%, to $27.30, in early trade.


DJIA component Chevron (CVX) reports its third quarter this morning, with analysts eyeing income of $3.44 a share on revenue of $67.93 billion.

The stock edged past resistance at $110 in Thursday's market rally, reaching a new intraday high.

Appliance maker Whirlpool (WHR) was getting pummeled in premarket trade, after slashing its full-year earnings outlook. Third-quarter profit came in better than expected, but the company plans to eliminate 5,000 jobs on slower-than-forecast sales. Management said that discounts from other appliance makers have cut into demand for its products.

Shares of the S&P 500 component slid $9.47, or 15.66%, to $51, ahead of Friday's open.

Analysts' Actions

Futures brokerage MF Global (MF), whose shares have plummeted more than 65% this month, saw its debt downgraded to junk status at Moody's and Fitch on Thursday.  The stock plunged again in early trade Friday, shedding $0.17, or 11.89%, to $1.26, in premarket trade.

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), whose shares have traded in a tight range in recent weeks, a potentially bullish chart setup, was downgraded to Underperform from Outperform at research shop CLSA. The analyst cited share price valuation.

Despite the action, shares of the drug maker were up $0.18, or 0.55%, to $32.80.

A couple of retailers were in the spotlight this morning. Whole Foods Markets (WFM) was bumped up to Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse. The move comes a bit after the fact, as the stock has already gained 13.6% this month, reaching its best levels in nearly five years.

Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) was initiated with a rating of Buy at Williams Capital, a day after Morgan Stanley started the stock with an Underweight designation.

Shares are trading at all-time highs, although weekly volume has been below average lately.  

Columnist Conversations

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