In the Headlines
Global stocks showed signs of recovery Wednesday, after the German and French prime ministers nixed the idea of a eurobond yesterday, disappointing the markets.
Wall Street futures pointed to a higher open this morning.
One of the most controversial proposals floated by European political leaders yesterday was a tax on financial transactions. European stocks were trading mostly to the downside before Wall Street's open, with banks and other financial-sector names among the biggest decliners.
The Swiss franc, which has been rising in recent weeks along with lack of confidence in the euro, continued rising Wednesday. The move came despite Switzerland's central bank adding liquidity to its money market in an effort to weaken the currency.
In Asia, markets ended Wednesday's session mixed, with some better-than-expected earnings reports boosting some sectors. However, the lack of a eurobond announcement kept a damper on Asian trade.
Turning to U.S. econ reports due out today, the Mortgage Bankers Association issued its weekly data on mortgage applications. The number rose 4.1% from last week, as people took advantage of lower interest rates to refinance.
At 8:30 a.m. EDT, the Labor Department is set to release its producer price index for July. The core number, which takes out volatile food and energy prices, is expected to show an increase of 0.2%.
The energy department releases its weekly count of crude-oil inventories at 10:30. Analysts see a decline in reserves.
In early Nymex trade Wednesday, West Texas Intermediate climbed $1.11 to $87.76 per gallon.
Gold continued marching toward the $1,800 level, advancing $8.70 per ounce to $1,793.70.
It's a busy day for retail earnings news.
Target (TGT) reported income of $1.03 per share and revenue of $16.24 billion, beating top- and bottom-line expectations. The company had been expected to report earnings of $0.97 per share on sales of $16.17 billion. In this morning's report, Target raised its full-year earnings outlook above Wall Street's views.
Target shares, which have skidded nearly 18% so far this year, rose $2.18 on the news, up 4.42% to $51.55.
A retailer that's logged better stock-price performance lately is Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF). Early Wednesday it said second-quarter earnings topped views, coming in at $0.35 per share. Wall Street had expected $0.30 per share. Revenue was $916.8 million, ahead of the $879 million analysts had anticipated.
Abercrombie shares rose $0.98 before the open, gaining 1.38% to $72.
A closely watched name reporting before the open was agricultural-equipment maker Deere (DE). The company reported third-quarter earnings of $1.69 a share, 2 cents ahead of views. Revenue was $8.37 billion, trouncing expectations of $7.5 billion.
The company said rising global demand boosted results, along with a weaker dollar. It raised its full-year earnings view.
Despite the seemingly cheery results, the shares continued their slide from Tuesday's session in the premarket, off 1.21% to $74.25.
After the bell, JDS Uniphase (JSDU), which has plunged sharply in recent months, reports its fiscal fourth quarter after today's close. Analysts forecast earnings at $0.23 per share on revenue of $466 million, which would continue the string of year-over-year increases.
Despite solid fundamental growth, investors have been fretting about the growth outlook for the fiber-optic-gear maker.
Early price movers Wednesday included office supplies retailer Staples (SPLS), which topped sales and earnings views in its second-quarter report this morning.
Shares bolted $1.18, 8.3%, to $15.40 in premarket trade.
An early decliner was Dell (DELL), which beat quarterly views after Tuesday's close, but slashed its sales forecast. The company said its outlook for tech spending has worsened. It cited problems in its consumer unit.
Dell tumbled $1.05, 6.65%, to $14.75 in the premarket.
Health insurer HealthSpring (HS) was initiated with a rating of Outperform at Wells Fargo. Shares of the Tennessee-based company have closed beneath their 40-week average in the past three weeks.
Another analyst action came from Merriman, which started TiVo (TIVO) with a Buy rating. Merriman analysts said the DVR pioneer, whose sales and earnings have been poor despite a rabid fan base, is changing its business model. The company will shift from a retail set-top model to one that relies more on intellectual property licensing. The company has long been viewed as a possible acquisition target.
While a number of companies postponed planned IPOs in the wake of market volatility, Chinese video site Tudou is forging ahead with its offering. The company, which offers a service similar to YouTube, priced 6 million shares at $29 apiece, raising $174 million.
Shares will begin Nasdaq trade today under the ticker TUDO.
Rival Youku.com (YOKU) went public in December.