Bob Pisani is off; this post was written by CNBC producer Robert Hum.
Currencies still remain the topic of discussion this morning with the Dollar Index is down for the fourth straight day. It fell to its lowest levels since January vs. the Euro, fell to parity vs. the Australian Dollar, and dropped below 81 Yen—extending its 15-year lows.
The Dollar extended its weakness this morning following comments from Ben Bernanke. At a speech in Boston, Bernanke continued to hint at QE2, saying there is “a case for further action.” That gave an initial boost to stock futures, as stocks continued their rise as traders buy ahead of the Fed formally expanding its balance sheet.
Also helping stock futures this morning, some better-than-expected economic data. The government reported September retail sales rising 0.6 percent, up more than the 0.4 percent expected by economists. Meanwhile, inflation remained contained as consumer prices rose less than expected in the government’s CPI report. Prices rose just 0.1 percent and were flat ex-food and energy last month – vs. an expected rise of 0.2 percent (headline estimate) and a rise of 0.1 percent (core estimate).
But as the Dollar bounced off its lows of the mornings, stock futures responded by falling off their highs.
Despite an earnings beat ($0.29 vs. $0.27 consensus), General Electric, the parent of CNBC, falls 3 percent after its revenues fell short of expectations. Weaker energy infrastructure revenues (down 14 percent) pulled down its top line, but encouraging was a 9 percent bounce in equipment orders.
Profits at GE Capital were solid, rising to $871 million—a sharp improvement from the $141 million in profits last year. CEO Jeff Immelt noted that GE Capital “has turned the corner…as reserves remained flat at $9.1 billion, while key performance measurements continued to improve.”
Mattel’searnings beat estimates by a penny, but the stock is trading down 4 percent as sales grew less than expected. Although Barbie, Disney Princess and Toy Story 3 merchandise sales were quite strong, the toymaker saw weakness in some of its toy brands for boys (Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Tyco R/C), which saw declines.
AMD rises 4 percent after a report that wasn’t as bad as the Street had feared. While revenues were inline with Street estimates, the chipmaker’s sequential decline in top line growth wasn’t as bad as it had hinted at last month (down 2 percent vs. company’s prior forecast of down 1 percent to down 4 percent). Earnings far exceeded estimates ($0.15 vs. $0.06 consensus) as margins jumped more than expected to 46 percent from 42 percent.
Revenue guidance for the current quarter is a bit light at $1.62 billion vs. $1.67 billion consensus).
Seagate soars 19 percent after the hard drive maker confirmed it has received interest to be taken private. The company did not disclose the interested buyer, but reports surfaced that private equity firm TPG Capital. Also rising sharply on the news, rival Western Digital, which is up 8 percent in early trade.
Capital Onereported a rise in chargeoffs(loans it doesn’t expect to recover) last month (8.38 percent vs. 7.19 percent in August). Meanwhile, a bit more encouraging for the credit card firm, delinquencies (loans 30 days or more overdue) fell slightly to 4.53 percent in September from 4.56 percent in the prior month.
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