Today's Primer

Today's Primer Post


Wall Street is in an indecisive stretch, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average alternating between gains and losses for six straight sessions, and the major averages all virtually at breakeven for the week despite new setting new multi-year highs at various points. History points to today as a losing session, with the S&P 500 up only about 39 percent of the time on Valentine's Day.

Today's most prominent economic report will come early, with the Labor Department issuing its weekly look at initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. New York time. Economists are looking for claims to slip by 6,000 for the week ending February 9 to 360,000.

At 10:30 a.m., the Energy Department is out with its weekly look at natural gas inventories, and the Treasury will be selling $16 billion in 30-year bonds. The results of that sales will be available shortly after 1 p.m.

PepsiCo (PEP) is among the companies set to issue quarterly earnings this morning, along with Waste Management (WM), Molson Coors (TAP), Discovery Communications (DISCA), DirecTV (DTV), and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN). CBS (CBS) will be out with its quarterly numbers after today's closing bell, as will Agilent (A) and Brocade Communications (BRCD).

Dow component Cisco Systems (CSCO) leads our list of stocks to watch, with the company reporting fiscal second quarter profits of $0.51 per share, three cents above estimates. Revenue also came in slightly above Street expectations. CEO John Chambers says the company is seeing signs of improvement in its European business.

Whole Foods (WFM) reported fiscal first quarter profit of $0.78 per share, one cent above estimates, with revenues essentially in line. However, the grocery chain also lowered its 2013 same-store sales growth outlook to 6.6 - 8.0 percent from the prior 6.5 - 8.5 percent.

Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) is revising the terms of its proposed $20.1 billion takeover of Mexico's Grupo Modelo, in hopes of winning U.S. government approval for the deal. The amendment includes the sale of the Piedras Negras brewery to Constellation Brands (STZ) and grant it perpetual rights to Corona and other Modelo brands within the U.S.

Applied Materials (AMAT) reported fiscal first quarter profit of $0.06 per share, excluding certain items, three cents above estimates. Orders were up from the prior quarter, but the maker of semiconductor manufacturing equipment continues to see weak demand from its industrial customers.

Mondelez International (MDLZ) earned $0.36 per share for the fourth quarter, two cents below estimates, with revenues short of Street consensus as well. However, the snack maker did raise its 2013 earnings outlook to $1.52 - $1.57 per share. The shortfall came in part because of its lowering of coffee prices in Europe.

MetLife (MET) beat estimates by $0.07 with fourth quarter profit of $1.25 per share. Revenues was also above analyst estimates, though the insurer's overall profit was down 90 percent from a year earlier on derivative-related losses.

NetApp (NTAP) reported fiscal third quarter profit of $0.67 per share, 11 cents above estimates, and the maker of data storage equipment is also forecasting earnings for the current quarter above Street consensus. However, the company did say it still has concerns about Europe and that it needs to be mindful of a tough global economy.

Zillow (Z) earned $0.02 per share for the fourth quarter, better than analyst forecasts for a breakeven performance. The real estate website operator also forecast current quarter revenue above expectations as its average monthly unique user numbers grow substantially.

Nvidia (NVDA) saw its fourth quarter come in four cents above estimates with profit of $0.28 per share, but the chipmaker's current quarter revenue forecast is short of analyst consensus. Nvidia is trying to shift its focus to the tablet market as PC demand softens, but it faces more difficult competition in that area.

TripAdvisor (TRIP) earned $0.29 per share for the fourth quarter, two cents above estimates, with revenue also beating consensus. But the company also says its costs will rise faster than revenue this year as it invests more in marketing.

Skechers (SKX) surprised analysts with a fourth quarter profit of $0.08 per share, versus forecasts for a loss of $0.11 per share. Revenues of $396 million swamped estimates of $338 million on a sizable jump in sales for the company's casual and fitness shoes.

Barnes & Noble (BKS) says its Nook e-reader business will perform more poorly for the current fiscal year than the company had previously forecast. The company is contending with slower sales of e-readers and books, as well as rising costs.