In the Headlines
Wall Street was looking for a rebound early Wednesday, with NYSE and Nasdaq indices poised to recover some of Tuesday's steep, heavy-volume losses.
The focus may shift from the global economy, and back toward the U.S. today, as some eagerly anticipated data hit the newswires.
European stocks rallied Wednesday, helped by gains in the financial sector. Traders are awaiting word tomorrow about Greece's bond-swap arrangement with its private creditors.
The major bourses were trading to the upside before Wall Street's open, and the euro was gaining vs. the dollar.
In Asia, stocks closed lower, with traders selling on the heels of Wall Street's losses, and on the same global worries about chaos from a possible Greek default. Lingering worries about China's lower growth forecast also pressured Asian stocks.
At 8:15 a.m. EST, ADP is set to release its employment change report. Economists are expecting a gain of 215,000 private sector jobs in February. That would be an improvement over January's increase of 170,000.
This report is viewed as a scene-setter for Friday's Labor Department monthly jobs report.
At 8:30 a.m., the Labor Department is scheduled to issue revised fourth-quarter productivity data. Analysts are eyeing a rise of 0.9% in that category. They expect to see a gain of 1.2% in unit labor costs.
At 3 p.m. the Federal Reserve is scheduled to release the January consumer credit report, which is expected to show an $11 billion increase. This report generally doesn't have much effect on equities trading.
Gold advanced $8.30 on the Comex, to $1,680.40 an ounce.
Crude oil was up $0.45 per barrel, to $105.15 in electronic trading.
The number of high profile companies reporting earnings has dwindled. This morning brings Williams-Sonoma's (WSM) fourth-quarter report. The high-end home goods retailer is expected to earn $1.13 a share on sales of $1.25 billion.
Those would be gains over the year-ago quarter. The shares have been meandering below their 52-week high of $45.48 from last May.
Also reporting early today is teen-clothing chain Buckle (BKE). Analysts are anticipating income of $1.14 a share and revenue of $335.30 million. The shares rallied to an all-time high last week, and have been pulling back this week in tandem with the broader market.
The retail theme continues after the bell, with Zumiez (ZUMZ) delivering its fourth-quarter results. Analysts expect income of $0.59 per share and sales of $183 million. Those would mark significant gains over a year earlier. The shares jumped to a 52-week high last wee
Premarket movers Wednesday included Pandora Media (P), plunging $3.09, 21.55%, after missing earnings and revenue views, and issuing a weak outlook late Tuesday.
In the gainers column, Netflix (NFLX) bolted $5.14, 4.8%, to $112.27 ahead of the bell. According to reports, the company is in discussions with cable operators to supply content to their TV networks. The battered stock staged a 73.5% price rebound in January -- but it has a long way to go to regain its all-time high of $304.79, which it hit in July.
Apple (AAPL) shares advanced $3.24, 0.61%, to $533.50 ahead of its iPad 3 press conference.
Analyst actions Wednesday included a Jefferies downgrade of DJIA component Kraft (KFT). The analyst cut shares to Hold from Buy, saying 2012 growth will be slower than earlier expected, due to product reductions and pension contributions. Kraft fell $0.27, 0.71%, to $38 in early trade.
In IPO news, REIT Select Income sold 8 million shares at $21.50 apiece, at the lower end of its proposed range, $21 to $23. The company, whose properties are mostly in Hawaii, will list on the NYSE using the ticker SIR.