Morning Market Update

market news Morning News

Stocks that are expected to trade actively in U.S. markets on Thursday include: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT), Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO), Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE:KSS), Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B), NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ:NTAP), Maxim Integrated Products Inc. (NASDAQ:MXIM), Volterra Semiconductor Corporation (NASDAQ:VLTR), Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE:A), Dean Foods Co (NYSE:DF), Estee Lauder Companies Inc (NYSE:EL), Weyerhaeuser Company (NYSE:WY).

Market Levels:

US: Dow Futures: 15218.00 (-0.79%), S&P 500 Futures: 1668.00 (-0.83%), NASDAQ Futures: 3093.25 (-0.96%)
Europe: CAC: 4085.22 (-0.71%), DAX: 8366.15 (-0.86%), FTSE: 6480.31 (-1.57%)
Asia-Pacific: Australia: 5152.40 (-0.10%), China: 2081.88 (-0.88%), Hong Kong: 22539.25 (-0.01%), Japan: 13752.94 (-2.16%).
Metals: Gold: 1331.90 (-0.11%), Silver: 21.95 (0.75%), Copper: 3.31 (-0.88%)
Energy: Crude Oil: 107.31 (0.43%), Natural Gas: 3.33 (-0.39%)
Commodities: Corn: 4.63 (1.76%), Soya Bean: 12.51 (0.99%), Wheat: 6.45 (0.47%)
Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3240 (-0.11%), GBP/USD: 1.5538 (0.25%), USD/JPY: 98.5000 (0.37%)
10-year US Treasury: 2.781% (0.071)

Market and Economic News Update:

U.S. stock-index futures drop: U.S. stock-index futures are pointing to a lower open on Thursday following a mixed batch of economic data, and disappointing quarterly results from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) and Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO). In economic news, weekly jobless claims declined 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 320,000 last week, according to the Labor Department. Economists had projected a reading of 335,000. Meanwhile, consumer prices gained 0.2 percent in July, matching expectations. Also, growth in New York’s manufacturing sector slowed to 8.24 in August from 9.46 in July, according to the New York Federal Reserve’s Empire State Manufacturing Survey. Economists were expecting a reading of 10. On the earnings front, Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) is scheduled to report quarterly numbers after the close of trading on Thursday.

European markets decline: European markets are down in trade amid continued uncertainty about when the U.S. Federal Reserve might start to reduce its asset-purchase program. On the economic front, U.K. retail sales recorded a month-on-month gain of 1.1 percent in July, beating expectations for a 0.6 percent rise. The CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) dropped 0.7 percent to 4085.22, while the DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) slid 0.9 percent to 8366.15. The FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) tumbled 1.6 percent to 6480.31 points. The euro zone blue-chip ESTX 50 PR.EUR (INDEXSTOXX:SX5E) (Euro Stoxx 50) was down 0.7 percent in recent trading.

Asian stocks end lower: Asian markets fell in trade, with the NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) down more than 2 percent after dollar-yen rose to a session low of 97.56. The SSE Composite Index (SHA:000001) (Shanghai Composite Index) fell 0.9 percent in choppy trade after ending a four-day winning streak in the previous session. The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index finished largely unchanged in trade today as gains in mining stocks helped cap heavier losses on the index.

Stocks in News:

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT)

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT)’s second-quarter profit rose to $4.07 billion, or $1.24 a share, from $4.02 billion, or $1.18 a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue edged 2 percent higher to $116.9 billion from $114.3 billion, a year earlier. Excluding items, Wal-Mart earned $1.25 a share. Same-store sales fell 0.3 percent at U.S. stores, missing the consensus estimate of a 0.7 percent gain. The world’s largest retailer also cut its full year earnings outlook to a range of $5.10 to $5.30 a share from its prior earnings guidance of as much as $5.40 a share. Analysts were looking for profit of $1.25 a share in the second quarter and $5.29 for the year. The Dow component saw its shares down 2 percent in pre-market trading.

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO)

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) posted fiscal fourth-quarter earnings excluding one-time items of 52 cents per share, topping estimates by a penny. Revenue stood at $12.42 billion, up 6 percent from the same period last year, as product and services sales rose. The networking-gear maker expects current quarter earnings of 50 cents to 51 cents per share and revenue growth of 3 percent to 5 percent, which is at the low end of most analysts’ projections. Cisco also announced plans to lay-off 4,000 people, or 5 percent of its workforce. Shares plunged in recent pre-market trading.

Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE:KSS)

Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE:KSS) reported a 4 percent decline in second-quarter profit to $231 million from $240 million a year earlier. Per-share earnings increased to $1.04 from $1.00 in the same period last year. Sales rose 2 percent to $4.29 billion from $4.21 billion, a year earlier. Analysts had expected per-share earnings of $1.04 on sales of $4.3 billion. For the current quarter, the company expects per-share earnings of 83 cents to 92 cents, on sales growth of 1 percent to 3 percent and same-store sales growth of up to 2 percent. The retailer also announced a quarterly dividend of 35 cents a share, payable September 25 to shareholders on record September 11.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) raised its stake in General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) and Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) in the second quarter, and acquired a new position in DISH Network Corp (NASDAQ:DISH), according to a regulatory filing. Berkshire reduced its holdings in Moody’s Corporation (NYSE:MCO), Mondelez International Inc (NASDAQ:MDLZ) and Kraft Foods Group Inc (NASDAQ:KRFT), according to the 13F filing, reported early Thursday.

NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ:NTAP)

Shares of the storage network equipment company fell in pre-open session after it posted fiscal first-quarter revenue that missed projections. Excluding items, NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ:NTAP) earned 53 cents per share on revenue of $1.52 billion. Analysts had forecast earnings of 49 cents per share on sales of $1.53 billion. In addition, the company expects second-quarter earnings of between 60 cents and 65 cents per share, on revenue of $1.56 billion to $1.66 billion.

Maxim Integrated Products Inc. (NASDAQ:MXIM), Volterra Semiconductor Corporation (NASDAQ:VLTR)

Maxim Integrated Products Inc. (NASDAQ:MXIM) has agreed to acquire rival chip maker Volterra Semiconductor Corporation (NASDAQ:VLTR) for about $605 million. Volterra shareholders will receive $23 per share, a 55 percent premium over Wednesday’s closing price. The deal is expected to close in the December quarter, and Maxim expects the acquisition to immediately add to per-share earnings.

Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE:A)

Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE:A) posted third quarter earnings excluding items of 68 cents per share, on sales of $1.65 billion, edging past forecasts for earnings of 62 cents per share on revenue of $1.64 billion. For the current quarter, the scientific instruments maker expects earnings of 75 cents to 77 cents per share, in line with current projections for 76 cents per share. Shares jumped in early-hours trading.

Dean Foods Co (NYSE:DF)

The dairy company said it is planning a reverse stock split of its common shares to help boost its share price. Dean Foods Co (NYSE:DF) said the 1-for-2 reverse stock split will be effective after trading closes on August 26. Following the split, every two shares of the company’s common stock will be combined into one share, reducing the number of shares outstanding to about 94.3 million shares from roughly 188.5 million. Shares were flat in pre-market trading.

Estee Lauder Companies Inc (NYSE:EL)

Estee Lauder Companies Inc (NYSE:EL) reported fiscal fourth quarter earnings excluding certain items of 24 cents a share, 3 cents above the

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