A modest pop in futures as the Consumer Price Indexwas flat, in line with expectations.
Hartford has confirmed that is has received preliminary approval for $3.4 billion in TARP funds.
Reports indicate that Prudential, Lincoln National and Principal Financial Group got the OK for TARP funding as well; Allstate and Ameriprise apparently got clearance as well, according to the WSJ.
This is good news, as Barclays noted to their clients this morning: "It in effect takes the life insurers out of "crisis mode," dramatically reducing (although not eliminating) the likelihood that one of them will fail in the near term." It also means that insurance companies do pose systemic risk.
1) GM will also be announcing cuts to their dealership network; keep an eye on the effect this will have on publicly traded auto dealers. According to UBS, GM represented 20% of Lithia Motors sales, 12 percent of AutoNation sales, 14 percent of Sonic Automotive sales, 5 percent Asbury and Group 1 Automotive sales, and 1 percent of Penske sales.
2) The number 1 U.S. trucking company YRC Worldwide is planning on seeking $1 billion in federal bailout money. A spokesperson said the company plans to use the aid to help cover an estimated $2 billion in pension obligations over the next 4 years.
3)Las Vegas Sands up 9 percent pre-open after reports the casino operator is looking at a potential Hong Kong IPO for its Macau unit. Las Vegas Sands had placed some of its Macau projects on hold due to the worldwide slowdown.
4) J.C. Penney down 4 percent, as they beat first quarter estimates with EPS of $0.11 vs. $0.10 est. Quarterly sales fell 5.9%. However, they are forecasting a second quarter loss of $0.15-0.25 versus street estimates of $0.09 loss, and full year profit projection of $0.50-0.65 versus $0.76 est.
5) Teen retailer Abercrombie and Fitch down 7% pre-open after reporting a larger than expected loss of $0.31 for the first quarter compared to estimates of $0.14. Net sales falling 24 percent. The retailer said it plans a strategic review of its Ruehl business, which is aimed at an older demographic.
6) Nordstrom beat street estimates with Q1 EPS of $0.31 versus $0.26 est. even after net sales fell 9.2% in the quarter. The retailer said it was able to beat earnings by maintaining "its discipline with respect to inventory and Expenses". Raises FY forecast to $1.25-1.50. The street anticipated FY earnings of $1.27. Trading up 1% pre-open.