Today's Primer

Dow Takes Aim at Record After 2nd Highest Close


Today could be the day Wall Street has been awaiting for nearly 5-1/2 years, as the Dow sits just 36 points from its October 2007 record close and 70 points from its record intraday high the same month. That follows the Dow's second highest close ever Monday, even though it's not had a winning streak longer than two sessions since January 25.

The new day brings just one economic report: the ISM's monthly non-manufacturing index at 10 a.m. New York time. Economists expect that measure of the U.S. services economy to come in at 55.0 for February, slightly lower than January's 55.2 reading.

The earnings calendar brings few reports of note this morning, while NutriSystem (NTRI), Jamba (JMBA), and Smith & Wesson (SWHC) are among the handful of companies set to release quarterly numbers after today's closing bell.

J.C. Penney (JCP) leads our list of stocks to watch, following a CNBC report that Deutsche Bank is shopping about 10 million shares of JCP stock held by Vornado Realty Trust. Vornado currently has an approximately 8.5 percent stake in the retailer, or about 18.6 million shares.

Gardner Denver (GDI) is near a deal to sell itself to private equity firm KKR (KKR) for more than $75 per share, according to Reuters. Gardner Denver is a maker of industrial pumps, and the two sides have been negotiating since KKR made an initial bid of $75 per share or about $3.7 billion on February 21.

Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ) has announced a secondary offering of nearly 5.4 million shares, with the proceeds going directly to the selling shareholders.

Facebook (FB) is the target of a new lawsuit related to last May's initial public offering. Shareholder Gaye Jones accuses company directors and officers of not disclosing weaker revenue trends due to a user shift to mobile access. Experts say this lawsuit may be regarded differently than prior actions because Jones has owned Facebook stock since before the IPO.

Heinz (HNZ) CEO William Johnson will get about $56 million in termination pay if he is not retained after the company's acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G capital. Heinz says the compensation would reflect the success of Johnson's 15-year stint as CEO.

U.S. Airways (LCC) and American Airlines parent AMR (AAMRQ) have received a Justice Department request for more information regarding their proposed merger. The two companies say they expect to respond promptly to the request and continue working with DOJ on its review of the deal.

Google (GOOG) is said to control too much of China's smartphone industry, according to a white paper issued by that country's technology ministry. The paper says the country's mobile operating system is too dependent on Google's Android software.

Anadarko Petroleum (APC) has reportedly launched an auction of a 20 percent stake in a Mozambique gas field, in conjunction with Indian billionaire Venugopal Dhoot. Reuters says the stake could bring in as much as $4.5 billion.

Express Scripts (ESRX) has issued a study saying less expensive generics brought down spending on common diseases for the first time in 20 years in 2012. However, the pharmacy benefits manager says that decline was offset by a rise in specialty drug treatments.

Toyota (TM) is set to unveil a reshuffling of top executives this week, according to Reuters. The report says managers who are lower down in the corporate chain will be given more authority to make day-to-day decisions.