Wall Street gets another chance today to show that Fed chairman Ben Bernanke's messages about the central bank's quantitative easing program are coming through. Wednesday's action may have most notable for the lack of reaction to Bernanke's testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, which he'll repeat today before the Senate Banking Committee. Stocks barely moved and ended the session with modest gains.
Bernanke's testimony, followed by the usual Q&A session, will begin at 10 a.m. ET. The testimony will be identical to yesterday's, while the questions, of course, may not be.
Several economic reports are also on the Street's radar this morning, starting with the Labor Department's weekly initial jobless claims report at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists are looking for claims of 340,000 for last week, down from 360,000 the prior week.
At 10 a.m. ET, the Philadelphia Fed Survey index is seen coming in at 7.7 for July, down from 12.5 in June. At the same time, the Conference Board's Index of Leading Economic Indicators for June is expected to register a rise of 0.3 percent following May's increase of 0.1 percent.
It's another busy morning for corporate earnings, featuring Dow components Verizon (VZ) and UnitedHealth Group (UNH) and Wall Street banking giant Morgan Stanley (MS). Also out this morning: AutoNation (AN), BlackRock (BLK), Johnson Controls (JCI), Philip Morris International (PM), Sherwin-Williams (SHW), and Safeway (SWY). Google (GOOG) and Microsoft (MSFT) are the most prominent of today's after-the-bell releases, which also include Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG), Capital One (COF), and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).
PepsiCo (PEP) is among our stocks to watch today, following yesterday's suggestion by investor Nelson Peltz at CNBC's Delivering Alpha conference that Pepsi buy Mondelez International (MDLZ). Pepsi told CNBC during yesterday's trading session that it's confident in its long-term growth strategy currently in place, and several later reports indicate that Pepsi is unlikely to follow through on those ideas.
Intel (INTC) reported second quarter profit of $0.39 per share, in line with estimates, but revenues were slightly shy. The chipmaker also cut its 2013 revenue forecast as well as capital spending plans to adjust to the significant contraction in the personal computer market.
American Express (AXP) posted second quarter profit of $1.27 per share, five cents above estimates, with revenues essentially in line. Amex shares had taken a hit during Wednesday's session, along with other credit card issuers, on a European Commission plan to limit credit card processing fees.
IBM (IBM) earned $3.91 per share, excluding certain items, for the second quarter, 14 cents above estimates, but revenues were short of consensus. However, IBM raised its full year outlook on lower costs.
eBay (EBAY) matched Street estimates by earning $0.63 per share and posting revenues of $3.88 billion, but its current quarter earnings and revenue outlook is short of analyst expectations. The outlook is being hurt by higher costs, as well as potentially slower growth from the PayPal business.
Xilinx (XLNX) earned $0.56 per share for its first quarter, nine cents above estimates, with revenues strongly above consensus. The specialty chipmaker also forecast current quarter revenue above estimates due to strong sales to the telecom, aerospace, and defense industries.
SanDisk (SNDK) earned $1.21 per share, excluding certain items, for the second quarter, swamping estimates of $0.93, with revenues also above estimates. The company was helped by a rebound in memory chip prices, stemming from increasing demand from mobile operators.
Select Comfort (SCSS) posted second quarter profit of $0.18 per share, six cents below estimates, with revenues also posting a shortfall. The mattress maker was hurt by an increase in marketing and research costs.
Allstate (ALL) is selling life insurance unit Lincoln Benefit Life to Resolution Life Holdings For $600 million. Resolution is a British financial services firm.