S&P futures popped about 6 points when initial jobless claims for the week, at 398,000, were lighter than expected. Stocks are oversold—some agreement on the debt ceiling should lead to a gap up.
Or not. A number of traders have insisted to me in the last week that the U.S. does not deserve a triple-A credit, and that the dollar is not the reserve currency it used to be.
Technicals rule: Some traders expressed surprise that the SPDR S&P 500 exchange traded fund saw a volume spike when it passed through $131, the 50-day moving average, but it wasn't too surprising. With government and regulatory risk moving the markets as much as fundamentals, traders have increasingly moved to simply trading on technicals. The 200-day moving average is the next important technical level, at about 1283.
1. Italy is paying up, big-time: The euro weakened, stocks in Europe declined this morning. Yields for this morning's 8 billion euro (US$11.4 billion) auction of 10-year Italian bonds jumped to 5.77 percent, the highest since February 2000. The spread to German bunds is 331 basis points, about 100 basis points higher than a few weeks ago. The 3-year bond auction went to 4.8 percent, highest since 2008. Analysts correctly noted that Italy could not afford to pay these rates for very long.
2. Tale of two energy companies: Exxon Mobil vs. Cooper Cameron. ExxonMobil down 2 percent pre-open. Earnings of $2.18 were lighter than consensus of $2.33, revenues a bit higher than expected at $125.5 billion.
First problem is higher costs: Capital expenditures much higher, which impacted the bottom line. Second problem is a miss on the upstream (oil production) business. They have production sharing contracts with national oil companies in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. As oil prices move higher—you get less production because of profit sharing.
Oil-service giant Cooper Cameron up 2 percent pre-open, reported earnings and revenues above consensus, and raised full year guidance to the midpoint of the consensus.
3. Fertilizer business continues strong: Potash up 4 percent in premarket trading. The chemical company's profit jumping 75 percent during the second quarter on continued strong demand.
4. Dupontbeats and raises guidance: Dupont $1.37, three cents above consensus, raised full-year guidance to $3.90 to $4.05 vs. previous guidance of $3.65 to $3.85.
5. Legg Mason beating Q2 estimates. Legg Mason's quarterly profit up 25 percent. The company closed Wednesday down almost 5 percent.
6. Sprint Nextel down 9.8 percent during premarket trading. The cell phone company posted a bigger than expected second-quarter loss. Sprint Nextel also losing 101,000 subscribers during the quarter.
7. Avon Products posting a higher second quarterly profit that was aided by sales growth in Latin America. However, sales in North America for the beauty company closed down 1.7 percent on Wednesday.
8. Raytheon posting a higher than expect second-quarter profit and raising their full-year guidance. The missile maker reporting a net income of $438 million, or $1.23 per share, compared to $208 million, or 55 cents per share, a year earlier. Raytheon closed down 3 percent Wednesday.
9. Sequans down 37 percent in premarket trading after reporting their second-quarter earnings. The French wire-less chip maker is sinking due to third-quarter estimates that are severely below analysts' expectations.
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