Morning Market News
Stocks that are expected to trade actively in U.S. markets on Thursday include: Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW), Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA), United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM), Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ:INTU), AFLAC Incorporated (NYSE:AFL), Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:REGN), Newmont Mining Corp (NYSE:NEM) and Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:NXST).
• US: Dow Futures: 14669.00 (0.37%), S&P 500 Futures: 1581.90 (0.50%), NASDAQ Futures: 2843.00 (0.67%)
• Europe: CAC: 3831.70 (-0.29%), DAX: 7782.95 (0.31%), FTSE: 6436.97 (0.07%)
• Asia-Pacific: Australia: 5102.40 (1.72%), China: 2199.31 (-0.86%), Hong Kong: 22401.24 (0.97%), India: 5916.30 (1.36%), Japan: 13926.08 (0.59%).
• Metals: Gold: 1453.00 (2.11%), Silver: 23.77 (4.10%), Copper: 3.23 (2.28%)
• Energy: Crude Oil: 91.86 (0.47%), Natural Gas: 4.18 (0.22%)
• Commodities: Corn: 6.22 (0.69%), Soya Bean: 13.55 (-0.96%), Wheat: 6.95 (-0.72%)
• Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3071 (0.42%), GBP/USD: 1.5459 (1.26%), USD/JPY: 99.1600 (-0.36%)
• 10 year US Treasury: 1.716% (0.010)
Market and Economic News Update
U.S. stock-index futures gain: U.S. stock-index futures are pointing to a higher open on Thursday, following an upbeat jobless claims report. Jobless claims fell 16,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 339,000, the Labor Department said today. Analysts were expecting 351,000 new claims last week. Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Expedia Inc (NASDAQ:EXPE) are slated to report quarterly numbers after the close.
European markets rise: European markets reversed losses and are trading mostly higher after data showed first-quarter gross domestic product in the U.K. gained 0.3 percent, versus estimates of a 0.1 percent expansion. The German DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) is up 0.5 percent at 7782.95 points. The FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) added 0.1 percent to 6436.97 and the CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) fell 0.3 percent to 3831.70 points. The euro zone blue-chip ESTX 50 PR.EUR (INDEXSTOXX:SX5E) (Euro Stoxx 50) was down 0.3 percent.
Asian markets end mostly higher: Asian markets closed higher for the second straight session on Thursday, as investors look ahead to the Bank of Japan’s meeting on Friday for signs of any fresh stimulus measures. The NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) added 0.6 percent to 13926.08 points, while the HANG SENG INDEX (INDEXHANGSENG:HIS) surged 1 percent to close at 22401.24. The SSE Composite Index (SHA:000001) (Shanghai Composite Index) fell 1 percent as traders booked profit following yesterday big up move. The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index was shut for a national holiday.
Stocks to Watch
Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM)
Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) reported better than expected quarterly earnings and revenue, but shares were down in pre-market trading. Exxon Mobil posted first-quarter earnings excluding items of $2.12 per share, up from earnings of $2.00 a share in the year-earlier period. Revenue fell to $108.81 billion from $124.053 billion, a year earlier. Analysts were expecting earnings of $2.05 a share on revenue of $11.98 billion. However, production declined 3.5 percent on an oil equivalent basis during the quarter.
The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW)
The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW)’s first-quarter earnings beat analysts’ estimates, helped by lower raw material costs and better expense controls. Adjusted earnings came in at 69 cents a share, 8 cents above the average analysts’ estimate, but sales trailed expectations at $14.4 billion. Capital expenditures dropped 14 percent during the period to $346 million. Following the report, shares rose in pre-market trade.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ)
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) has hired banking and legal advisers to prepare a possible $100-billion cash and stock deal to take full control of Verizon Wireless from its UK-based joint venture partner, Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:VOD), according to a Reuters report. The U.S. telecommunications company, which already owns 55 percent of Verizon Wireless, will start friendly discussions with Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:VOD), but is prepared to push aggressively for a deal, if talks fail, the report cited two people familiar with the matter.
Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA)
Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) swung to a surprise first quarter profit, but shares dipped in early morning trade after the social game maker forecast current-quarter sales that may fall short of some analysts’ estimates. Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) posted earnings of 1 cent a share on revenue of $230 million, beating Street expectations for a loss of 3 cents a share on sales of $210 million. For the second quarter, the company projected revenue of $225 million to $235 million, lower than current estimates for $260.1 million.
United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS)
United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS) reported quarterly earnings that topped analysts’ forecasts, helped by a stronger-than-expected post-holiday season and improvement in deliveries of online purchases. United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS) earned $1.04 a share, excluding items, 4 cents above the consensus estimate, on revenue of $13.43 billion that trailed expectations for $13.47 billion. Sales in the United States rose 3.4 percent, while international package revenue was flat in the quarter. In addition, the package delivery company reaffirmed its guidance for full-year adjusted EPS of between $4.80 to $5.06.
Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX)
Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) announced an 11 percent increased in quarterly dividend to $1 a share. The dividend is payable June 10 to shareholders of record as of May 17, and the hike will cost the oil giant about $194 million quarterly. Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) has raised its annual dividend payment for 26 consecutive years. Shares were flat pre-market.
QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM)
QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) posted record second quarter revenue, helped by strong smartphone sales that fueled the demand for its mobile microprocessors. QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) earned $1.17 a share, excluding items, matching forecasts, while revenue edged past estimates at $6.12 billion. Meanwhile, the company projected weaker-than-expected current-quarter earnings per share, sending shares lower in pre-market trading.
Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ:INTU)
Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ:INTU) slashed its current-quarter and full-year guidance to below Wall Street expectations, hit by weakness in its core tax-preparation business. Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ:INTU) expects third quarter adjusted earnings of $2.92 to $2.94 per share, on revenue of $2.17 billion to $2.18 billion, against analysts’ estimates of earnings $3.01 per share on $2.25 billion in revenue. For the full year, Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ:INTU) said net income will be between $3.31 and $3.35 per share, with revenue around $4.5 billion. Analysts project full-year net income of $3.43 per share and revenue of $4.6 billion.
AFLAC Incorporated (NYSE:AFL)
AFLAC Incorporated (NYSE:AFL) posted first quarter earnings of $1.69 a share, on revenue of $6.21 billion, compared to analysts’ expectations for earnings of $1.62 a share on revenue of $6.11 billion. The life insurer, which counts on Japan for almost 80 percent of its sales, said premium income during the period rose 9.8 percent in yen terms, but fell 5.9 percent in dollar terms. In addition, AFLAC Incorporated (NYSE:AFL) forecast second-quarter profit below estimates, but reaffirmed its full-year earnings outlook. Shares were down about 1 percent in trading before the opening bell.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:REGN)
Biotechnology company Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:REGN) will replace MetroPCS Communications Inc (NYSE:PCS) in the S&P 500 Index after close of trading on April 30, S&P Dow Jones said in a statement today. MetroPCS Communications Inc (NYSE:PCS)’s merger with Deutsche Telekom AG (ETR:DTE) (FRA:DTE)’s T-Mobile USA unit is expected to leave the combined company’s public float well below the 50 percent threshold needed for inclusion in the S&P 500 Index. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:REGN)’s shares rose 3 percent to $217.01 in pre-market trading.
Newmont Mining Corp (NYSE:NEM)
Denver-based Newmont Mining Corp (NYSE:NEM) has cut its quarterly dividend to 35 cents a share from 42.5 cents a share, as gold prices declined during the first quarter. The dividend is payable June 27 to shareholders of record as of June 12. The new dividend is based on an average London gold price of $1,632 an ounce, compared to the previous dividend paid in March which was based on an average gold price of $1,718 an ounce. Shares gained in early-hours trading.
Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:NXST)
Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:NXST) and partner, Mission Broadcasting Inc have agreed to buy privately held Communications Corporation of America and White Knight Broadcasting for $270 million. Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:NXST) will acquire 11 stations from Communications Corporation of America while Mission Broadcasting will add 8 stations, expanding the Nexstar/Mission portfolio to 91 stations, reaching about 13.9 percent of U.S. TV households in 48 markets. Shares of Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:NXST) closed Wednesday at $22.45 on the NASDAQ, and were up 5 percent in morning trade.
Economic Calendar for Thursday, April 25, 2013:
08:30 A.M. ET: Initial Jobless Claims (Week ending Saturday, April 20)
08:30 A.M. ET: Continuing Jobless Claims (Week ending Saturday, April 13)
10:30 A.M. ET: EIA Natural Gas Report (Week ending Friday, April 19)
11:00 A.M. ET: Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index (April)
01:00 P.M. ET: 7-Year Note Auction
04:30 P.M. ET: Fed Balance Sheet
04:30 P.M. ET: Money Supply