Importantly, the euphoria did not extend to the rest of Asia; the Nikkei is down 2.4 percent today. Since the early March lows in global indices, emerging market stocks have far outperformed developed countries, including the U.S.
1) Building momentum. Home improvement retailer Lowe'sup a strong 9 percent pre-open after its Q1 results handily beat estimates. Although earnings and revenues fell from last year, the company saw "solid gross margin growth." Lowe's CEO also noted some "relative strength in smaller, outdoor projects" with the arrival of spring.
Same store sales only declined by (6.6%), better than the decline of roughly 9 percent expected. The company noted that big-ticket items continue to be postponed, but that consumer confidence appears to be improving.
Second quarter guidance looks strong too, with earnings expected between 51 cents-55 cents vs. expectations of 50 cents. Same-store sales, however, are expected to decline 4%-8% in the current quarter.
Competitor (and Dow component) Home Depotis also up 4 percent in pre-market trading.
2) Shares of department store Dillard'ssoar 25 percent pre-open after the retailer reported a surprising Q1 profit late on Friday. While sales fell 12 percent, its EPS of 9 cents significantly beat analyst estimates of an 18-cent loss. Margins improved substantially, due to lower operating expenses and better inventory management.
3) Following Intel's optimistic comments on its Q2 order flow early last week, Honeywell's CEO told investors this morning that its own "order trends in April and May are consistent" with the company's forecasts. Q2 guidance of 55 cents-65 cents is reaffirmed, inline with the consensus forecast of 61 cents.
4) Your offer still stinks. After the close on Friday, fertilizer producerCF Industriesrejected Agrium'sraised bid of $88.18 per share in cash and stock. CF Industries' board believes Agrium's increased offer still undervalues the company.
5) State Streetthe latest bank to announce a mixed offering of $1.5 billion in stock, and a separate offer to sell non-FDIC backed notes, all in an effort to repay TARP money.
They also guided below prior guidance for 2009, now guiding to $4.25-$4.50 from prior guidance (excluding the loss below) that EPS would decline to a range of about $4.71-$4.93.
Separately, the company took assets with a book value of $22.7 billion back onto their balance sheets and assigned them a fair value of $16.6 billion, and recorded a loss of $3.7 billion. This was an off-balance sheet vehicle that contained asset-backed commercial paper (ABCP).