Today's Primer

S&P Eyes Record Close Again As Cyprus Banks Reopen


Wall Street's shortened trading week concludes with the S&P 500 still just shy of its all-time closing high. The benchmark index has come with a quarter point of that mark, 1565.15, his week, but has yet to surpass it. Today, investors will be keeping watch on Cyprus, where the bailed-out country will reopen its banks for the first time since March 16.

Economic reports today include the latest on jobless claims and GDP, both at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists are looking for initial jobless claims to rise by 4,000 to 340,000 for the week ending March 23, while consensus forecasts call for the third and final look at fourth quarter GDP to register an annual growth rate of 0.5 percent.

The Treasury will sell $29 billion in 7-year notes, with the results of that auction available shortly after 11:30 a.m. ET instead of the usual 1 p.m. because of an early close for the Treasury market.

BlackBerry (BBRY) is among the most prominent names in this morning's corporate earnings release, with Accenture (ACN), Mosaic (MOS), and Gamestop (GME) also scheduled to report.

U.S. Airways (LCC) is among our stocks to watch, as a bankruptcy court judge approves the merger deal between U.S. Airways and bankrupt American Airlines parent AMR.

AIG (AIG) has adopted a new compensation policy that will allow for so-called "clawbacks". The insurer will be able to take back bonuses from executives whose actions cause serious financial harm to the company.

Chevron (CVX) is reportedly cutting compensation for its CEO and other top executives, reflecting recent safety issues. The Wall Street Journal says an oil leak in Brazil and the fire at Chevron's refinery in Richmond, California are among the incidents that impacted pay.

Paychex (PAYX) reported third quarter profit of $0.40 per share, one cent above estimates, though revenues fell shy of consensus. The provider of payroll services also saw an increase in its operating profit margins.

Red Hat (RHT) reported fourth quarter profit of $0.33 per share, excluding certain items, three cents above estimates. Revenues fell slightly short of Wall Street estimates for the distributor of Linux software.

PVH (PVH) earned $1.54 per share for its fourth quarter, excluding certain items, four cents above estimates, with revenues also beating forecasts. However, the clothing maker forecast 2013 profit short of analyst consensus due to a drag from its acquisition of Warnaco.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) is now rated "stable" by Standard & Poor's from a prior "negative" rating, with S&P saying the bank has successfully addressed its risk-management missteps.

MetroPCS (PCS) shareholders are being urged to vote against a merger with T-Mobile USA by proxy advisory firm ISS. The firm says the deal undervalues MetroPCS.

Sprint (S) may have to give the U.S. government oversight of its network equipment purchases in exchange for approval of a $20 billion Sprint takeover by Japan's Softbank. That's according to Reuters, which says the government will require Sprint to notify it if any national security concerns or public safety considerations arise.

Dell (DELL) chief executive Michael Dell could stay on as CEO if Blackstone Group (BX) is successful in its bid to buy Dell, according to the Wall Street Journal. The paper says Blackstone is open to keeping Dell, an attitude that could help sway the opinion of a special committee with oversight of the proposed bids. (AMZN) will release a smartphone during the second quarter, according to DigiTimes, which says Amazon has opted for a larger 4.7 inch screen because it sees increasing demand for larger-sized screens.