US Stocks Seen Down; Pfizer Earnings Awaited
Wall Street is about to complete another positive month, and a record-setting one as well. The S&P 500 is coming off a record closing high Monday, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average still does not have a losing streak as long as three days in 2013, the longest it's ever gone into a year without doing so.
Today marks day one of a two-day meeting of Federal Reserve policymakers, with the FOMC's Wednesday afternoon statement a key event for the market's fortunes this week. Several economic reports are on the calendar today as the Fed prepares to meet, starting with the latest Case-Shiller home price data at 9 a.m. ET. Economists expect a 9.0 percent year-over-year increase in home prices in February for the 20-city index, compared to an 8.1 percent year-over-year rise in January.
The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index, out at 9:45 a.m. ET, is expected to increase to 53.0 for April after a reading of 52.4 for March.
The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index will be released at 10 a.m. ET, with consensus forecasts calling for a rise to 62.0 for April from 59.7 in March.
Dow component Pfizer (PFE) leads this morning's list of earnings releases, accompanied by Aetna (AET), Avon Products (AVP), Cummins (CMI), Starwood Hotels (HOT), Legg Mason (LM), McGraw-Hill (MHP), Pitney Bowes (PBI), Sirius XM Radio (SIRI), Tenet Healthcare (THC), and U.S. Steel (X), among others.
Genworth Financial (GNW), Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX), and Western Union (WU) are among the companies set to release quarterly numbers after today's closing bell.
Express Scripts (ESRX) leads our list of stocks to watch, reporting first quarter profit of $0.99 per share, excluding certain items, two cents above estimates. Revenue also beat consensus, and the pharmacy benefits manager also raised its year forecast, as customers use more profitable generic drugs.
Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) earned $0.87 per share for the first quarter, 12 cents short of estimates. However, revenue beat forecasts, helping give the shares a boost. CEO Sally Smith said the restaurant chain has continued investing capital for future success, despite the challenge of escalating chicken wing costs.
Herbalife (HLF) reported first quarter profit of $1.27 per share, excluding certain items, 21 cents above estimates, with revenues in line. The nutrition products company also raised its full year forecast, in the face of the ongoing controversy generated by investor Bill Ackman, who has called Herbalife a "pyramid scheme".
Hartford Financial (HIG) earned $0.92 per share for the first quarter, excluding certain items, ten cents above estimates. The insurer is in the midst of a restructuring that focuses on its core businesses like property casualty insurance and group benefits.
Hertz Global (HTZ) beat estimates by four cents with first quarter profit of $0.21 per share, with revenues also beating consensus. The car rental company benefited from higher prices and good results from newly acquired Dollar Thrifty.
Safeway (SWY) has named company president Robert Edwards as chief executive officer, replacing the retiring Steven Burd.
NYSE Euronext (NYX) earned $0.52 per share for the first quarter, four cents below estimates, with revenue also short of consensus. The company is in the process of being acquired by IntercontinentalExchange in a deal worth $8 billion, pending shareholder approval in a June vote.
BP (BP) reported first quarter profit of nearly a billion dollars for the first quarter, beating analyst forecasts. The results were helped by upbeat trading results and output from two new oil fields.
Sprint (S) is unlikely to get an improved takeover bid from Softbank, according to Softbank founder Masayoshi Son. SoftBank is currently offering $20.1 billion for 70 percent of Sprint, but is competing with Dish Network's (DISH) $25.5 billion bid.