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Dow's Record Run Continues Ahead Of February Jobs Report

Friday, 8 Mar 2013 | 5:37 AM ET

After a 5-1/2 year wait, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has now set new highs in three straight sessions, with the Dow and S&P 500 both riding 5-session winning streaks. The S&P and Nasdaq are on pace for their biggest weekly gains in nine weeks, with the February jobs report looming this morning as the next significant milepost for the Street.


The employment report will be out at 8:30am ET, with the consensus Dow Jones forecast calling for 155,000 new non-farm jobs last month, and the unemployment rate ticking 0.1% lower to 7.8%. Reuters is forecasting 160,000 new jobs, while a FactSet survey is at 152,000.


The earnings calendar is relatively light this morning, but we will see the latest numbers from retailers Ann Inc. (ANN) and Foot Locker (FL).


Pandora (P) leads our list of stocks to watch, as chief executive officer Joseph Kennedy announces he'll step down as soon as a successor is found. Kennedy has held the job since July 2004.


Macy's (M), J.C. Penney (JCP), and Martha Stewart will go to mediation in an attempt to resolve the dispute over where Stewart's products can be sold. The court case involving the three parties has been adjourned until April 8 to give the parties a chance to work out a resolution.


Texas Instruments (TXN) has raised the lower end of its prior earnings forecast, now seeing first quarter profit of $0.28 - $0.32 per share, compared to a previous lower end of $0.24. Street analysts are currently at $0.31. It's also forecasting revenues of $2.80 billion - $2.91 billion, compared to a previous lower end of $2.69 billion. The chipmaker cites improving demand from industrial customers as well as upbeat wireless chip sales.


H&R Block (HRB) reported a fiscal third quarter loss of $0.06 per share, wider than $0.03 Wall Street had forecast. Revenues were also well below estimates, largely because of the delayed start to the U.S. tax filling season following the fiscal cliff negotiations. However, the nation's largest tax preparation service says cost cuts will boost its earnings for 2013.


Cooper Companies (COO) earned $1.23 per share, excluding certain items, for its fiscal first quarter, four cents above estimates, with revenues also exceeding consensus. Cooper – which makes contact lenses and medical instruments – saw particular improvement in its vision business.


We'll watch major bank stocks like JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Citigroup (C), Wells Fargo (WFC) and Bank of America (BAC) after the Federal Reserve said all but one of 18 bank holdings companies was sufficiently capitalized following its latest stress tests. The only exception was Ally Financial.


Skullcandy (SKUL) says it will lose between $0.25 and $0.30 per share during the first quarter, with a 30% drop in sales. Analysts had expected the maker of headphones to report a profit of $0.05 per share for the quarter. Skullcandy says it failed to quickly deal with changing trends in the audio industry.


Investor Carl Icahn has raised his stake in Herbalife (HLF) to 15.55% from a prior 13.6%. The dietary supplements maker, of course, is a the center of a dispute between Icahn and hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, who has a large short position.


United Continental (UAL) says its February passenger traffic fell 3.4% in February, with capacity dropping 8.4%. As a result, its so-called "load factor" rose by 4.1% compared to a year earlier.


Gardner Denver (GDI) will be bought by KKR in a deal worth $76 per share, according to the Wall Street Journal. KKR had bid $75 per share for the industrial pumps maker several weeks ago, and the two have been talking since then to try to finalize a transaction.


Google (GOOG) is cutting another 1,200 jobs at its Motorola Mobility unit, in addition to the 4,000 it cut last August.