Stock Futures Indicate a Higher Open. Stocks to Watch: AAPL, BHI, BAC, FDX, MU, NKE, LCC
Published on Friday, 23 March 2012 07:39 Written by Christopher Lynn
New York, March 23rd (TradersHuddle.com) – Stock futures were indicating a higher open, as Wall Street attempts to cut weekly losses. Performance this week has been the worst so far this year, with the longest losing streak in about 4 months. Participants were bidding stocks ahead of data that might show new home sales in the U.S. climbing to a one-year high.
In Asia, most stocks closed lower for the session, as participants reacted to yesterday’s string of weak manufacturing data points in China and the euro zone. In Japan, the Nikkei fell more than 1%, its biggest drop in two months as exporters weighed down the index. In China, the Shanghai Composite fell more than 1% also, hitting a fresh 1-month low, on concerns over the pace of growth in the economy.
In Europe, markets were trading in negative territory amid ongoing concerns over global growth, and on track to extend their fourth straight session losing streak. Stocks are coming back in following the recent rally that had taken the major bourses to trade at their highest levels since August.
The euro was climbing against the Dollar, trading above the $1.32 level. Crude oil was climbing 0.56% to $105.94 per barrel. Also in the energy complex, natural gas was jumping 1.32% to $2.299 per MMBtu,. Gold was adding 0.49% to $1650.50 an ounce, and silver was gaining 1.1% to $31.69 an ounce. Meanwhile, copper was advancing 1.23%.
On economic news, at 10 am February’s New Home Sales figures will be available.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), the maker of iPads and iPhones, was practically flat in pre-market after closing just below the $600 mark in the prior session. Yesterday, Hillard Lyons raised its target price on the stock to $660 from $575 and Reuters reported that Apple had started to place orders on a 4.6-inch retina display to use in a new iPhone, which could be released in the second quarter of the year. Earlier in the week, the stock logged a new all-time high of $609.65, helped as numerous brokers continue to adjust estimates and target prices to account for solid iPhone 4S sales and the strong demand for the new iPad. Citigroup bumped its target price to $700 from $600, while Goldman Sachs raised its target price to $700 from $660. Also, Evercore lifted its target price to $750 from $650; Sterne Agee raised its target price to $740 from $620 and FBR Capital bumped its target price to $675 from $525.
Baker Hughes (NYSE: BHI), the solutions provider for the oil and gas industry, will be in focus after Dalhman Rose cut its target price to $53 from $68 and FBR Capital lowered its target price on the stock to $50 from $60. Both firms cited the company’s poor first quarter guidance from earlier in the week that resulted from business deterioration in North America's Pressure Pumping product line.
Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) was climbing 0.31% to $9.63 in pre-market, as the stock attempts to rebound from the prior session 2.2% decline. The company is launching a pilot program for customers facing foreclosure, where the lender will offer these customers the option to remain in their homes by converting them into property renters instead. Bank of America has seen a sharp rally so far this year, with shares surging more than 70% so far this year and actually hitting a high of $10.10 earlier in the week before pulling back.
FedEx (NYSE: FDX) will be in focus after Dahlman Rose called yesterday’s pull back a buying opportunity. Shares of FedEx tumbled 3.5% in the prior session after investors reacted to a slightly weaker than expected revenues and a soft outlook for the current quarter.
Micron Technology (NASDAQ: MU), the dynamic random access memory chips maker, will be in focus during the session, as participants reacted negatively in after hours to its quarterly results. The stock tumbled more than 4% after the company missed earnings expectations on revenues that were above consensus. Micron posted a loss of $0.23 per share, $.03 worse than consensus, on revenues that climbed 8.4% from a year ago period to $2.07 billion.
Nike (NYSE: NKE), the athletic footwear and apparel giant, will be in focus, as shares jumped more than 1% in extended hours yesterday after the company posted solid quarterly results and said that worldwide future orders climbed 15% from a year ago period to $9.4 billion. Nike said that it earned $1.20 per share, $0.03 better than consensus, on revenues of that climbed 15.1% from a year ago period to $5.85 billion.
US Airways (NYSE: LCC), the Phoenix based airline, will be in focus after Bloomberg reported that the company is discussing a potential takeover plan of bankrupt American Airlines with some of the creditors and advisers. According to the report, U.S. Airways executive presented details of the proposed combined airline to the unsecured creditors committee, receiving a positive reaction.
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