Stocks that are expected to trade actively in U.S. markets on Thursday include: Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), VeriFone Systems Inc (NYSE:PAY), PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP), Sodastream International Ltd (NASDAQ:SODA), Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS), The J.M. Smucker Company (NYSE:SJM), Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), Ascena Retail Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASNA), AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), Vera Bradley, Inc. (NASDAQ:VRA) and Endo Health Solutions Inc (NASDAQ:ENDP).
Morning News: Market Levels
• US: Dow Futures: 14988.00 (0.19%), S&P 500 Futures: 1612.50 (0.28%), NASDAQ Futures: 2945.75 (0.25%)
• Europe: CAC: 3861.01 (0.22%), DAX: 8197.45 (0.02%), FTSE: 6408.75 (-0.16%)
• Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4781.20 (-1.12%), China: 2242.11 (-1.29%), Hong Kong: 21838.43 (-1.06%), Japan: 12904.02 (-0.86%).
• Metals: Gold: 1404.50 (0.43%), Silver: 22.62 (0.64%), Copper: 3.32 (-1.38%)
• Energy: Crude Oil: 94.19 (0.48%), Natural Gas: 3.97 (-0.87%)
• Commodities: Corn: 5.44 (-1.95%), Soya Bean: 15.29 (0.23%), Wheat: 7.01 (-1.02%)
• Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3114 (0.16%), GBP/USD: 1.5451 (0.29%), USD/JPY: 99.1100 (0.05%)
• 10 year US Treasury: 2.089% (0.002)
Market and Economic News Update
U.S. stock-index futures gain: U.S. stock-index futures are pointing to a higher open on Thursday after data showed a decline in weekly jobless claims. Jobless claims dropped 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 346,000 in the week ended June 1, according to the Labor Department. Economists were expecting a reading of 345,000. Today’s report on jobless claims came before tomorrow’s all important monthly government payrolls data. Employers are projected to have added 170,000 jobs to their payrolls in May.
European markets mostly higher: European markets held their gains after both the European Central Bank and the Bank of England kept their benchmark interest rates unchanged. In other economic news, France’s jobless rate came in at 10.8 percent, slightly below expectations of 10.9 percent. The DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) and the CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) are trading modestly higher, while the FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) is down 0.2 to 6408.75 points. The euro zone blue-chip ESTX 50 PR.EUR (INDEXSTOXX:SX5E) (Euro Stoxx 50) added 0.2 percent.
Asian markets end lower: Asian stocks fell in a choppy session on Wednesday amid weak overnight cues from Wall Street. The NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) closed below the key 13,000 mark for the first time since April 5. The SSE Composite Index (SHA:000001) (Shanghai Composite Index) fell for the sixth consecutive day to end at a fresh three-week low. The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index lost more than a percent following weaker than expected trade surplus data for Australia. April trade surplus came in at $27 million, compared to market expectations for $204 million.
Stocks in Morning News:
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will sell ads on its music streaming service that is expected to be unveiled at its developers conference next week, according to a Reuters report. The tech giant has contacted some of its biggest advertisers but hasn’t started selling the service extensively yet, the report said, citing one of the people familiar with the plan.
VeriFone Systems Inc (NYSE:PAY)
VeriFone Systems Inc (NYSE:PAY) swung to a fiscal second-quarter loss amid significant litigation charges and a drop in product sales. Excluding items, earnings stood at 42 cents a share, 5 cents below the consensus estimate. Revenue fell 10 percent to $430 million, also missing expectations for $440 million. In addition, the electronic payment solutions company handed in current-quarter outlook that disappointed analysts, sending shares lower in pre-market trading.
PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP), Sodastream International Ltd (NASDAQ:SODA)
PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP) is reportedly in talks to buy Israel’s Sodastream International Ltd (NASDAQ:SODA) for about $2 billion. SodaStream shares closed just under $70 a share on Wednesday, and PepsiCo might agree to pay as much as $95 a share, according to a report from the Calcalist financial newspaper. SodaStream makes home soda-machines and reported sales of over $436 million last year.
Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS)
Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS) has announced a $2 billion stock buyback program, as the casino operator looks to return cash to shareholders. Chairman and Chief Executive Sheldon Adelson announced the multi-year buyback at the company’s annual general meeting in New York. Shares closed Wednesday at $57.35, and edged higher in early-hours trading.
The J.M. Smucker Company (NYSE:SJM)
The J.M. Smucker Company (NYSE:SJM) posted fourth quarter earnings excluding items of $1.29 per share that easily beat the average analysts’ estimate of $1.16. Revenue was also in line with consensus. The food producer was helped by a significant drop in green coffee costs during the quarter. Gross profit margins in its coffee business increased to 27.6 percent from 23.1 percent in the year-ago period.
Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST)
Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST)’s May same-store sales increased 5 percent, compared to analyst estimates of a rise of 5.5 percent. Net sales for the four-week period ending June 2 rose 7 percent to $8.13 billion from $7.57 billion during the same period of last year. Shares of Costco Wholesale were inactive in pre-market trading.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ)
Millions of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) customers have had their phone records collected by the U.S. National Security Agency under a secret court order, according to a report published by the Guardian newspaper. According to the report, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was granted a court order in April that requires Verizon to provide the NSA with daily information on all telephone calls by its customers within the United States and between the United States and other countries.
Ascena Retail Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASNA)
Ascena Retail Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASNA) reported third quarter earnings of 26 cents a share on sales of $1.14 billion, trailing expectations for 30 cents a share on revenue of $1.17 billion. In addition, the women’s apparel retailer handed in full-year guidance that missed Street projections. Shares tumbled in pre-open session.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T)
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) has cut its stake in Carlos Slim-controlled telecom company, America Movil, by 7.5 percent, according to a U.S. regulatory filing. AT&T said the sale of the 540 million America Movil shares was part of a move to bring back ownership to its historical level of 9 percent. AT&T remains America Movil’s second-largest shareholder behind the Slim family.
Vera Bradley, Inc. (NASDAQ:VRA)
Vera Bradley, Inc. (NASDAQ:VRA) reported better than expected quarterly results amid stronger revenue and higher same-store sales. The women’s accessory retailer’s first quarter earnings came in at 23 cents a share, 2 cents above the average analysts’ estimate. Revenue grew 5 percent to $123 million, also edging past expectations for $121 million. However, the company provided current-quarter and full-year outlooks that missed forecasts, and said CEO Michael Ray will retire, sending shares sharply lower in pre-market trading.
Endo Health Solutions Inc (NASDAQ:ENDP)
Endo Health Solutions Inc (NASDAQ:ENDP) lowered its outlook for the year, and said it plans to cut 15 percent of its global workforce. The pharmaceutical company now expects full-year adjusted earnings of $4.10 to $4.40 per share on total revenue of $2.65 billion to $2.80 billion, compared to a prior view of adjusted