US Stocks on Record Run
The Dow and the S&P 500 come off their first record closes since late May, with the Nasdaq Composite sitting at a nearly 13-year high. Despite the nearly two-month lag between records, the Dow closed at an all-time high for the 24th time this year, or nearly 20 percent of 2013's trading sessions. Futures are pointing to a slightly lower open this morning as Wall Street gets set for some key earnings reports.
Today's calendar does have very few companies scheduled to report, but investors will be paying plenty of attention to two of them, Wells Fargo (WFC) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM). Both banks will issue their quarterly numbers before the open this morning.
The week ends with two key economic reports and three late-day Fed speeches. The government is out with June producer price index figures at 8:30 a.m. ET, with economists looking for a 0.6 percent rise following a 0.5 percent increase in May. The core rate, figured without food and energy, is seen matching May's 0.1 percent increase.
The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index will be out at 9:55 a.m. ET, with consensus forecasts calling for a preliminary July reading of 83.5 compared to the 84.1 final June figure.
Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard will both speak at the Rocky Mountain Economic Summit in Jackson Hole, Wyoming this afternoon, while San Francisco Fed President John Williams has a scheduled speech in Vancouver after the close, with all three addressing the economy and monetary policy.
Gap (GPS) reports a 7 percent increase in June same-store sales, better than the 4.7 percent estimated by analyst. Gap's results were led by a 13 percent sales jump at its Old Navy chain.
Valero Energy (VLO) expects second quarter profit of $0.91 - $1.01 per share, excluding certain items, below the $1.27 consensus analyst estimate. The refiner cites several factors, including fewer discounts for heavy sour crude oil, and higher natural gas costs.
RadioShack (RSH) issued a statement after the close saying it has a strong balance sheet, and that it has met with investment banks, as many companies do, to look for ways to improve it. The retailer also said that this has been the sole focus of such discussions. The shares had plummeted yesterday on a report saying it might hire a financial adviser to help improve its liquidity.
Dell (DELL) shares are on our watch list, with investor Carl Icahn expected to present an improved offer for the computer maker today. Dell's special committee is dismissing Icahn's call for shareholders to seek an appraisal for their holdings.
H&R Block (HRB) is selling the assets of its H&R Block Bank to Republic Bank & Trust. Terms were not disclosed, but the tax preparation company did say that it will take charges of three to four cents per share related to the sale, and that annual net income will be trimmed by six to nine cents per share.
Best Buy (BBY) is holding a two-day iPad trade-in sale beginning today. Customers can trade in an iPad 2 or third-generation iPad and receive a $200 Best Buy gift card. Best Buy had held a similar iPhone trade-in event last month and said it had an "overwhelming response".