Today's Primer

Wall Street Resumes Winning Ways


The S&P 500 comes off its biggest gain in more than two weeks, with neither the latest Fed statement and economic forecasts nor the latest Cyprus developments having a significant impact on what had already been a positive stock session. Investors now turn their attention to what will be the busiest day of this week for economic reports.

The Labor Department's weekly report on initial jobless claims – out at 8:30 a.m. ET – is expected to come in at 342,000 for the week ending March 16, an increase of 10,000 from the prior week.

A flood of data is due at 10 a.m. ET: the National Association of Realtors will issue February existing home sales, seen rising 1.6% to an annual rate of 5.0 million units. At the same time, consensus forecasts call for the monthly Philadelphia Fed index to come in at -5.0 for March, a less negative reading than February's -12.5. And the Conference Board's Index of Leading Economic Indicators is expected to show an increase of 0.6% for February following a 0.2% rise in January.

At 10:30 a.m. ET, the Energy Department will issue its weekly look at natural gas inventories.

K.B. Home (KBH) is among the companies scheduled to report quarterly earnings this morning, with investors watching to see if a string of upbeat reports by home builders continues. Retailer Ross Stores (ROST) and apparel maker Lululemon (LULU) are also on this morning's earnings calendar, while chipmaker Micron (MU) and athletic apparel maker Nike (NKE) will be out with their numbers after today's closing bell.

Oracle (ORCL) leads our list of stocks to watch, after the software producer reported fiscal third quarter profit of $0.65 per share, one cent below estimates. Revenues also fell short, as software sales and subscriptions dropped 2% compared to Oracle's forecast of a 3-13% rise.

Jabil Circuit (JBL) also fell one cent short of Street estimates, reporting fiscal second quarter profit of $0.53 per share, though revenues did slightly exceed Street forecasts. The contract electronics maker also forecast current quarter earnings and revenues below analyst estimates. Analysts point to the fact that Jabil's largest customer, Apple (AAPL), is currently preparing for product transitions.

Guess (GES) reported higher than expected fourth quarter earnings and revenues, but the apparel maker is forecasting current quarter and full year earnings below analyst forecasts. Guess has been seeing falling sales in both North America and Europe, and the company says it continues to see a challenging macroeconomic environment.

Tumi (TUMI) reported fourth quarter profit of $0.25 per share, excluding certain items, one cent below estimates, with revenues also shy of consensus. The luggage maker also forecast earnings for this fiscal year below Street forecasts.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) directors who were up for reelection all won reappointment to the board, despite calls by some investors for certain members to be ousted.

Suntech Power (STP) has filed for bankruptcy, as the global solar industry continues to slump. The bankruptcy could impact shares of other publicly traded solar stocks such as First Solar (FSLR), SolarCity (SCTY), and SunPower (SPWR).

J.C. Penney (JCP) bondholders have withdrawn a claim of default against the retailer. The dispute centered on Penney using inventory as collateral for a credit agreement.

AstraZeneca (AZN) is cutting another 2,300 jobs from sales and administration as new CEO Pascal Soriot continues efforts to turn the drugmaker around.

Boeing (BA) reportedly plans to conduct two flight tests for its revamped 787 battery system by the end of this week, according to Reuters.