Wall Street 'Melt-Up' Rolls On
The U.S. stock market's major averages continue to rewrite the record books, with the Dow and S&P 500 coming off record closes, and the Nasdaq Composite finishing at its highest since November 12, 2000. The Dow, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq are all riding 4-session winning streaks, having gained in each session this week.
The week's final trading day is also the busiest for economic numbers, beginning with March figures for producer prices and retail sales at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists see retail sales rising 0.1 percent for last month after February's 1.1 percent rise, while forecasting a 0.4 percent drop in producer prices after a 0.7 percent rise in February.
At 9:55 a.m. ET, the University of Michigan's preliminary April consumer sentiment index is expected to come in at 79.0 following the final March reading of 78.6.
At 10 a.m. ET, consensus forecasts call for the government's February business inventories report to register a 0.5 percent rise for the month following January's 1.0 percent increase.
Two financial powerhouses report quarterly earnings this morning, with Wells Fargo (WFC) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) issuing their quarterly numbers before today's opening bell.
Gap (GPS) is among our stocks to watch, with the clothing retailer reporting a drop of 1.0 percent in comparable store sales for March. The drop is slightly smaller than analysts were anticipating, and CEO Glenn Murphy said the company is pleased with the month and is focused on selling a strong spring product line.
J.B. Hunt Transport (JBHT) reported first quarter profit of $0.61 per share, three cents below estimates, with revenues in line with consensus. The transport company's intermodal division registered a 15 percent increase in revenue, but the trucking segment posted a decline.
Weyerhaeuser (WY) has raised its quarterly dividend by 18 percent to $0.20 per share. The increase will cost the forest product producer an additional $16.3 million per quarter.
Eli Lilly (LLY) will lay off about 30% of its U.S. sales force, amounting to about 1,000 jobs. The layoffs come as Lilly prepares to lose patent protection for key drugs Cymbalta and Evista.
Ashland (ASH) shares are getting a boost after hedge fund Jana Partners revealed a 7.5 percent stake in the chemicals producer. Jana called Ashland's shares undervalued in an SEC filing.
Harris Corp. (HRS) expects to earn $1.12 per share for its third quarter, below analyst estimates of $1.26, with revenues also coming in light. The military contractor puts the blame on the budget sequester.
Infosys (INFY) is forecasting revenue growth of six to ten percent for the 204 fiscal year, below analyst estimates. The software services firm has been losing market share to competitors and has been slowing the pace of hiring.
Nasdaq OMX Group (NDAQ) slashed CEO Robert Greifeld's bonus by 62 percent to $1.35 million for 2012, stemming from the botched Facebook initial public offering last May.
Elan (ELN) shareholders have approved a $1 billion share buyback plan. The drugmaker is in the process of trying to fend off a takeover from U.S-based investment firm Royalty Pharma.
NXP Semiconductors (NXPI) is revising its fourth quarter earnings higher to $0.56 per share from the originally reported $0.56, as it excludes stock-based compensation from its numbers. The former chip unit of Royal Philips Electronics has also announced a business unit realignment.