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Today's Primer Post

U.S. investors continue to play it close to the vest as they wait for earnings season to develop. The major averages have had relatively small moves each day since the big rally on January 2, the year's first trading day, and stock index futures are pointed to a muted open once again today.


Investors may find some influence in two key economic reports out at 8:30 a.m. New York time, with December retail sales and producer prices set to be issued. Economists are looking for a 0.2 percent increase in retail sales following November's 0.3 percent rise, and they think producer prices will register a 0.1 percent drop after a November decline of 0.8 percent.


At 10 a.m., the government's report on November business inventories is expected to show a 0.3 percent increase, following October's 0.4 percent rise.


Tuesday's schedule will once again match Monday's tally of three Fed-related speakers. Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren, Minneapolis Fed President Naryana Kocherlakota, and Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser are all scheduled to speak at various events. It should be noted that with the change of the calendar to 2013, Rosengren is now a voting member of the FOMC, while the latter two are not.


Drugmaker Forest Labs (FRX) and home builder Lennar (LEN) are among the companies set to report quarterly earnings this morning, while Linear Technology (LLTC) is among the handful of companies scheduled to issue numbers after the closing bell.


Lululemon (LULU) is among our stocks to watch today, as the athletic apparel retailer lowers guidance for the current quarter, which spans the holiday shopping season. It now sees fourth quarter revenue at $475 to $480 million, compared with consensus estimates of $489 million. Analysts say the chain is still executing very well, but that expectations on the Street have become extremely high.


Denny's (DENN) is launching its own coffee blends and specialty caf drinks, following two years of testing. Denny's says it currently sells about 87 million cups of coffee a year, but sees an opportunity to increase that number and helping to boost overall sales.


FedEx (FDX) has named Henry Maier as the new chief executive officer of its FedEx Ground unit, replacing the retiring David Rebholz as of May 31. Maier is currently Executive Vice President of that unit.


Express (EXPR) has raised its fourth quarter earnings guidance to $0.72 - $0.74 per share, up from the prior $0.62 - $0.68 and well above consensus estimates of $0.66. The retailer of clothing for young adults says holiday season sales were better than it had previously expected.


RadioShack (RSH) is ending its mobile phone partnership with retailer Target (TGT). The venture has been unprofitable, and RadioShack is pulling the plug after it was unable to negotiate more favorable terms.


Facebook (FB) is holding a widely publicized media event at 1 p.m., though it's not said what it plans to announce.


Boeing (BA) and its engineers will resume contract talks tomorrow, after the company delivered its latest offer to the union Monday afternoon.


Dell (DELL) shares will remain on the watch list today, after surging yesterday on reports that it was in talks with two private equity firms about a potential buyout.



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