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Wall Street Limping To May Finish


Wall Street's major averages are still on pace for their first May gains since 2009, but the month is finishing on anything but a strong note. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite have fallen in five of the past seven sessions, and the Dow had its biggest one-day slump since May first. Stock index futures are currently pointing to more losses – although slight – at the opening bell.


Economic reports should play a prominent role in today's trading, starting with the latest on jobless claims and GDP at 8:30 a.m. ET. The Labor Department's weekly report is expected to show claims of 341,000 for last week, virtually unchanged from the prior week. The government's second estimate of first quarter GDP will show the economy expanding at an annual rate of 2.4 percent, according to consensus forecasts. That compares to the government's initial estimate of 2.5 percent growth.


At 10 a.m. ET, the National Association of Realtors will issue its April report on pending home sales, seen rising 1.5 percent. Such an increase would equal the March advance in home sale contracts signed but not yet closed.


At 10:30 a.m. ET, the Energy Department will issue its weekly look at natural gas inventories, and at 11 a.m. ET, the holiday-delayed inventory report on oil and gasoline will be out.


Mining equipment maker Joy Global (JOY) is among the companies set to issue quarterly earnings this morning, along with retailers Express (EXPR), Delia's (DLIA), and Big Lots (BIG). Doughnut chain operator Krispy Kreme (KKD) and movie studio Lions Gate (LGF) will be out with their latest numbers after today's closing bell.


Costco (COST) is among our stocks to watch this morning, with the warehouse retailer reporting quarterly profit of $1.04 per share, one cent above estimates. However, revenues were below consensus, as same-store sales rose five percent from a year earlier.


Alcoa's (AA) credit rating has been cut to junk levels by Moody's, which now rates the aluminum producer's date at Ba1 compared to the prior Baa3, with a stable outlook. Moody's points to weak prices and a highly competitive market.


Priceline.com (PCLN) has authorized an additional $1 billion for its stock buyback program, with the travel web site operator also planning a $1 billion sale of 7-year convertible bonds.


NV Energy (NVE) is being bought by Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK/A, BRK/B) MidAmerican Energy for $23.75 per share, or $5.6 billion. That represents a 23 percent premium to NV's Wednesday closing price.


Royal Caribbean (RCL) sees a $0.10 per share reduction in current quarter profits, due to the fire on its Grandeur of the Seas that cut a cruise short and will put the vessel out of service for six weeks for repairs.


O'Reilly Automotive (ORLY) has increased its share buyback authorization by $500 million to a total of $3.5 billion.


Clearwire (CLWR) got an after-hours boost after Dish Network (DISH) increased its offer to buy the wireless service operator to $4.40 per share from $3.30. That tops an offer by Sprint (S) of $3.40 per share for Clearwire. This comes amid Dish's attempt to outbid Japan's Softbank as both vie to buy Sprint.


GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has received U.S. FDA approval for two advanced melanoma drugs.