Today's Primer

U.S. Markets Open New Week With Positive Momentum


The major U.S. averages are coming off their second biggest weekly gains of 2013 as the new trading week opens, with the Dow coming off yet another all-time closing high and the S&P 500 now within about 14 points of eclipsing its own record close.

The new week gets off to a slow start in terms of economic data, with no new reports out today. Earnings are slow as well, although we will see quarterly numbers from retailer Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) this morning and food producers Chiquita Brands (CQB) and Diamond Foods (DMND) this afternoon.

Nokia (NOK) is among our stocks to watch this morning, with the shares falling overseas after Goldman Sachs cut its price target on the handset producer's stock and repeated a "sell" recommendation. Goldman's move was driven by lower forecasts for smartphone sales.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) is seeking approval for a $7.5 billion share buyback, according to the Financial Times. Major banks will get the results of a Federal Reserve view of their capital plans later this week.

Sony (SNY) chairman Howard Stringer will retire from the company at its annual shareholder meeting in June. Stringer became chief executive of Sony in 2005, then stepped down from that role last April to serve solely as chairman.

Electronic Arts (EA) has issued an apology for problems plaguing the launch of its latest "SimCity" game. Technical problems with servers shut many gamers out of the system for several days, which EA blames on server instability.

Walt Disney (DIS) had success with its latest movie release, "Oz the Great and the Powerful". The "Wizard of Oz" prequel earned $80.3 million in North American ticket sales during its debut weekend, earning the number one spot at the weekend box office.

Several drug and medical device makers are in the news this morning:

Gilead Sciences (GILD) says its heart drug Ranex reduced chest pain in patients with diabetes, according to a clinical trial. This was the first test of the drug specifically in diabetic patients.

Abbott Labs (ABT) could see some negative fallout after a drug-coated heart stent from a Japanese company proved as effective as Abbott's top-selling stent known as Xience.

Edwards Lifesciences (EW) saw a redesigned version of its heart valve replacement system Sapien perform well in a new clinical study.

Boston Scientific (BSX) says its atrial fibrillation device known as Watchman proved safe in a clinical study.

Other stocks to watch: (AMZN) is reportedly being challenged by publishing industry groups in its effort to own new internet domains such as .book, .author, and .read, according to the Wall Street Journal. It says the groups feel that allowing Amazon to own those names would be a threat to competition.

Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) could see its stock rise 25% over the next year based on the retailer's performance, but could fetch a 43% premium in a buyout, according to an article in Barron's. But the paper says there's no indication that Bed Bath is looking to sell itself.

Goldman Sachs (GS) has lost its effort to turn aside a vote on splitting the chairman and CEO roles, according to correspondence posted on the SEC web site. A letter sent to Goldman by SEC counsel says the agency cannot concur with Goldman's view that the shareholder proposal does not warrant a vote.