Stock Futures Lower; Focus Shifts to Jobs. Stocks to Watch: AAPL, CI, COST, XOM, K, LTD, PFE, V, WYNN
Published on Thursday, 01 November 2012 08:20 Written by Christopher Lynn
New York, November 1st (TradersHuddle.com) – Stock futures were pointing to a lower open despite positive signs of a recovery in China, as participants trade cautiously ahead of tomorrow’s key employment report amid a batch of earnings reports and national-chain retailers posting their October same-store sales figures.
In Asia, closed mostly with gains after China’s manufacturing PMI confirmed an encouraging recovery trend. The official PMI jumped to 50.2 in October from 49.8 in September, slightly below expectations of 50.3, but nevertheless signaling expansion in factory activity. The Shanghai Composite rallied 1.7%, while the Nikkei gained 0.21%.
In Europe, markets were trading to the upside amid positive earnings reports and as investors were reacting to the signs of recovery in the Chinese economy. Meanwhile political uncertainty remained in the EU, with a rift over the EU’s long-term budget between the U.K. and France.
The euro was sliding against the Dollar, trading below the $1.30 level. Crude oil was adding 0.10% to $86.33 per barrel. Also in the energy complex, natural gas was jumping 1.03% to $3.73 per MMBtu. Gold was gaining 0.23% $1723.00 an ounce, and silver was climbing 0.60% to $32.51 an ounce; meanwhile copper was advancing 0.95%.
Today’s Stocks to watch: Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Cigna (NYSE: CI), Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ: COST), Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM), Kellogg (NYSE: K), Limited Brands (NYSE: LTD), Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), Visa (NYSE: V), and Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ: WYNN).
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), the maker of iPads and iPhones, was climbing 0.28% to $597 in pre-market after in the prior session dropping below $600 per share mark following news of the management shake up, Technically the stock has strong support at its 200day moving average, trading around the $587 level. According to a 10K filling, the company disclosed that it plans to open 30 to 35 new retail stores, with about 75% of them located outside of the U.S. during 2013. Additionally, the New York Times has an article discussing the recent shake up, with Forestall leaving its position as iOS chief, and how his departure might end real world images on maps.
Cigna (NYSE: CI), the life and health insurer, reported earnings that beat expectations by $0.35 per share on revenue that was inline with consensus. The company also issued earnings guidance for full year 2012 above consensus. Cigna earned in the quarter $1.71 per share, excluding non-recurring items, on revenue that jumped 31.2% from a year ago to $7.36 billion, which was primarily driven by the HealthSpring acquisition.
Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ: COST), the owner and operator of wholesale membership warehouses, will be in focus after reporting that same store sales jumped 7% in Otober, versus consensus of a gain of 6.6%. The retailer said that stronger foreign currencies and inflation in gasoline prices had a positives impact on the month. Excluding these items, comparable sales climbed 5% in October. Costco said that net sales for the month were $7.67 billion, a 9% increase from a year ago.
Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM), the largest U.S. energy producer, will be in focus, as the company reported earnings of $2.09 per share, beating consensus by $0.16 per share. Oil-equivalent production decreased 7.5% from the third quarter of 2011. Excluding the impacts of entitlement volumes, OPEC quota effects and divestments, production decreased 2.9%.
Kellogg (NYSE: K), the cereal maker, will be in focus after beating earnings consensus by $0.02 per share on revenue that was largely inline with consensus at $3.72 billion. Additionally, the company reaffirmed full year 2012 EPS and revenue guidance.
Limited Brands (NYSE: LTD), the operator of specialty stores like Victoria Secret and Bath and Body Works, will be in focus after it reported same-store sales climbed 3% in October versus consensus of 5.6%. Additionally, the retailer raised its fiscal third quarter earnings guidance, while reporting preliminary revenue that is inline with consensus. Limited sees EPS in a range of $0.23 to $0.25 versus consensus of $0.21.
Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, was losing 1.5% in pre-market after narrowly beating earnings expectations on revenues that were below consensus. The company also narrowed its full year 2012 earnings and revenue guidance below consensus. Pfizer said that for the third quarter it earned $0.53 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.01 better than consensus, on revenue that fell 15.9% from a year ago to $13.98 billion versus consensus of $14.68 billion. Additionally, the company announced that its Board of Director has authorized a new $10 billion share repurchase plan to begin upon the sale of Pfizer’s Nutrition business to Nestle, which is expected to close in a few months.
Visa (NYSE: V), the retail electronic payments network operator, was rallying 3.3% to $143.33, trading above its all-time high of $143.10, after its quarterly results topped expectations and the company announced a new $1.5 billion share buyback program. Visa said that in fiscal fourth quarter it earned $1.54 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.04 better than consensus, on revenue that jumped 14.6% from a year ago to $2.73 billion, above consensus of $2.67 billion. Additionally, Visa increased its quarterly dividend by 50% to $0.33 from $0.22 per share.
Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ: WYNN), the luxury casino operator, will be in focus after the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau reported that October gross gaming revenue increased 3.2% from a year ago to 27.7 billion patacas. Macau gaming revenue is now up 13.5% year to date. Wynn generated about 72% of second quarter net revenues and 79% of adjusted EBITDA in Macau.
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