Morning Market Update
Stocks that are expected to trade actively in U.S. markets on Wednesday include: Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (NYSE:FDO), Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C), ADTRAN, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADTN), Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ), Fastenal Company (NASDAQ:FAST), Smithfield Foods, Inc. (NYSE:SFD), Tribune Company (OTCMKTS:TRBAA), Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF), ADTRAN, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADTN), Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE:NUS), United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X).
US: Dow Futures: 15238.00 (0.11%), S&P 500 Futures: 1646.20 (0.04%), NASDAQ Futures: 2974.75 (0.02%)
Europe: CAC: 3836.62 (-0.18%), DAX: 8043.41 (-0.18%), FTSE: 6487.98 (-0.39%)
Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4901.10 (0.40%), China: 2008.13 (2.13%), Hong Kong: 20904.56 (1.06%), Japan: 14416.60 (-0.39%).
Metals: Gold: 1255.30 (0.75%), Silver: 19.31 (0.90%), Copper: 3.09 (0.73%)
Energy: Crude Oil: 105.15 (1.56%), Natural Gas: 3.70 (1.29%)
Commodities: Corn: 5.20 (1.99%), Soya Bean: 12.79 (1.92%), Wheat: 6.76 (2.11%)
Currency: EUR/USD: 1.2815 (0.27%), GBP/USD: 1.4889 (0.15%), USD/JPY: 100.2400 (-0.90%)
10-year US Treasury: 2.630% (-0.004)
Market and Economic News Update:
U.S. stock-index futures largely unchanged: U.S. stock-index futures are pointing to a flat open on Wednesday as investors await the release of the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting for any signs on when the central bank may begin a tapering of its asset-purchase program. On the economic front, wholesale inventories data for May will be released at 10 A.M. ET.
European markets decline: European stocks fell in trade ahead of the Federal Reserve's minutes from its latest policy meeting, and a speech by Chairman Ben Bernanke. In economic news, S&P lowered Italy's sovereign credit rating to two notches above "junk" status, citing the country's weak economic prospects. The CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) and the DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) lost 0.2 percent, while the FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) dropped 0.4 percent to 6487.98 points. The euro zone blue-chip ESTX 50 PR.EUR (INDEXSTOXX:SX5E) (Euro Stoxx 50) was down 0.3 percent in recent trading.
Asian markets end mostly higher: Chinese stocks outperformed the rest of Asia amid investor optimism that the People's Bank of China will ease policy to boost economic growth. On the economic front, Chinese exports fell 3.1 percent in June from a year earlier, while imports dropped 0.7 percent last month. The SSE Composite Index (SHA:000001) (Shanghai Composite Index) above the key 2,000 level in a volatile session of trade. The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index pared early morning gains to end 0.4 percent higher. The NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) ended the day 0.4 percent lower.
Stocks in News:
Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (NYSE:FDO)
Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (NYSE:FDO) posted third-quarter profit of $120.94 million, or $1.05 a share, on revenue of $2.57 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of $1.03 a share on revenue of $2.57 billion. In addition, the discount retailer narrowed its full-year outlook to a per-share earnings range of $3.77 to $3.82, compared to the previously forecasted range of $3.73 to $3.93. Shares jumped in pre-market trading following the results.
Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C)
The bank will sell 92 of its retail banking branches in California in a leaseback agreement with real estate consultant Jones Lang LaSelle. A Citi spokesman said the bank is selling the branches to "capitalize on the high demand for well-situated rental properties." The proposed sale will have no impact on existing employees or customers. Shares dipped in early-hours trading.
ADTRAN, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADTN)
ADTRAN, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADTN) reported second-quarter earnings excluding one-time items of 21 cents a share, easily beating the average analysts’ estimate of 16 cents a share. Revenue fell 12 percent to $162.2 million, also topping expectations for $154 million. Shares of the networking and communications-equipment company closed Tuesday at $25.21, and soared in trading before the opening bell.
Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ)
Shares of Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) rallied in pre-open trading after analysts at Citigroup raised the technology major to “buy” from “sell,” citing increased benefits from cost savings in the second half of the year. Despite HP shares outperforming the broader market, the analysts said there still was a 25% to 30% upside from current levels."We anticipate that HP's revisions are now likely to start increasing in 2014 for the first time in nine quarters," the analysts further said.
Fastenal Company (NASDAQ:FAST)
Fastenal Company (NASDAQ:FAST) said second-quarter profit increased to $121.01 million or 41 cents per share, from $112.31 million or 38 cents per share in the year-ago period. Analysts were projecting the company to report earnings of 41 cents per share for the quarter. Sales edged 5.3 percent higher to $847.6 million, trailing expectations for $857 million. Shares closed Tuesday at $47.10, and fell in pre-market.
Smithfield Foods, Inc. (NYSE:SFD)
Chief Executive Officer Larry Pope will be questioned by senators today, amid concerns about the proposed $4.7 billion acquisition of the pork producer by China's Shuanghui International. Pope will testify before the Senate Agriculture Committee and answer questions about food safety and the broader effects of increased foreign ownership of U.S. agri-businesses.
Tribune Company (OTCMKTS:TRBAA)
The parent company of Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune will spin off its publishing business from its broadcast arm, as the media company aims to shift its focus to its TV operations after acquiring 19 local television stations last week. A detailed separation plan would be developed during the next 9 to 12 months, the company said in a statement. Class A shares of Tribune closed Tuesday at $61.70 and were inactive pre-market.
Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF)
Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF) announced that Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Carrabba will retire at the end of the year. James Kirsch, who serves on Cliffs' board, was appointed non-executive chairman. The iron ore miner has retained executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles to help find a CEO. Shares edged higher in pre-market trading.
Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE:NUS)
The skin-care company raised its second quarter and full-year outlook, sending shares higher in pre-open trading. For the second quarter, Nu Skin expects earnings of $1.20 a share and revenue of $680 million, up from its previous view of earnings of 91 cents to 95 cents per share, on revenue of $570 million to $580 million. Full-year earnings will be between $4.85 and $5.00 a share, on sales of $2.83 million to $2.86 million. Nu Skin is scheduled to report second-quarter results on August 1.
United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X)
United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X) said executive vice president and CFO Gretchen Haggerty will retire this year. Haggerty is one of the longest-serving top executives at company, and was named CFO in early 2003. The Pittsburgh steel producer has launched