In the Headlines
Wall Street was headed for a higher open Friday, with traders awaiting data on consumer sentiment and new-home sales. Oil prices remain in the spotlight, with crude trading at its highest levels since last May on continued worries about Iranian actions. Crude oil rose $0.61 per barrel to $108.44.
European stocks showed gains Friday morning, boosted by some better-than-expected corporate earnings reports. The euro was trading ahead of the dollar before Wall Street opened for business.
In Asia, most indices wound up Friday's session on the plus side. Energy-related stocks were among price leaders, increasing along with crude prices.
Economic reports on deck for today include the University of Michigan's final consumer sentiment reading for February. Economists expect a level of 73, up from the prior reading of 72.5. The report is due out at 9:55 a.m. EST.
Five minutes later, the Commerce Department releases data on new-home sales for January. Analysts are forecasting sales of 315,000 units, vs. 307,000 in December.
On the earnings calendar, J.C. Penney (JCP) is expected to report fourth-quarter earnings of $0.68 a share and sales of $5.5 billion. Shares have held gains after bolting nearly 19% in late January.
Also reporting before the bell is gold producer Newmont Mining (NEM), seen earning $1.21 a share on revenue of $2.72 billion. Those would mark year-over-year gains. The stock has been consolidating gains since retreating from November's all-time high of $72.42.
Premarket movers Friday included cloud-based enterprise software maker Salesforce.com (CRM). Late Thursday, the company beat fourth-quarter views and raised its revenue view for the current year above analysts' expectations.
Shares headed for the clouds early Friday, levitating $12.73, 9.66%, to $144.50. Its all-time high was $160.12 in July 2011.
Shoemaker Deckers Outdoor (DECK) got kicked to the ground in early trade, plunging $9.71, 10.76%, to $80.50. The company issued weak first-quarter guidance after the bell Thursday. This morning, it was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.
Apple (AAPL) advanced $2.91 ahead of the open, a gain of 0.56%. In yesterday's shareholder meeting, the company said it would require directors to be elected by majority vote, and that it would look closely at uses for its cash trove.
In addition to the Credit Suisse downgrade of Deckers, analyst actions early Friday included an Oppenheimer upgrade of Apple supplier Cirrus Logic (CRUS). The analyst bumped up the stock to Outperform from Perform, citing strength in the Apple voice-recognition business.
In IPO news, online customer review service Bazaarvoice priced nearly 9.5 million shares at $12, above its proposed range of $8 to $10. It begins trading on the Nasdaq using the ticker BV.
Also pricing above its planed range was parts prototype maker Proto Labs. It sold 4.3 million shares at $16. The stock will list on the NYSE under the ticker PRLB.