Successful bond sales in Spain and Hungary have helped stabilize Europe (though Spain paid a substantially higher yield of 4.864 percent for the 10-year paper, well above the 4.045 percent previously), but S&P futures lost about 4 points when the weekly jobless claims report came in a bit higher than anticipated.
U.K.'s FTSE 100 and France's CAC 40 are up for their 7th day in a row, their longest streak since last summer's rally in July. The FTSE is up nearly 5 percent while the CAC is up almost 10 percent during their current winning streak.
1) In an update, home builder Toll Brothers said that deposits and traffic had slowed. CFO Joel H. Rassman said, "In the three weeks following our earnings conference call on May 26, 2010, our per-community deposits have been running about 20% behind the comparable period in last year's third quarter and our per-community traffic has been running about 3% behind."
"[We] believe our customers' buying decisions have been driven more by consumer confidence than by the tax credit."
2) Smithfield earnings topped estimates ($0.18 vs. $0.16 consensus) as higher margins offset slightly disappointing sales. Pork prices rose 23 percent while volumes declined 12 percent. But those higher prices helped its hog production unit. Optimism surrounds that unit too: according to CEO Larry Pope, "the hog production cycle has turned" as "losses…have abated."
The meat producer also announced it is seeking to wholly own the Butterball brand and has submitted an offer to buy the 51 percent stake it currently does not own from Maxwell Farms.
3) Pier One jumps 7 percent after Q1 earnings of $0.07 surprised estimates who had forecasted a loss of $0.02. The improved results were helped by strong sales, higher margins, and lower expenses. Greater store traffic helped same-store sales soar 14.3 percent in the quarter — a stark contrast to the 7.5 percent decline in comps during the year-ago quarter.
Northrop Grumman announced a $2 billion buyback, which approximates about 11 percent of its current market cap.
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