Morning Market Update: MetroPCS, Costco, International Paper, YUM!

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Morning Market News

Stocks that are expected to trade actively in U.S. markets on Thursday include: Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ:BBBY), Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM), MetroPCS Communications Inc (NYSE:PCS), Deutsche Telekom AG (ETR:DTE) (FRA:DTE), Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST), International Paper Company (NYSE:IP), Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE:RAD), Integra Lifesciences Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:IART), Protective Life Corp. (NYSE:PL), AXA SA (EPA:CS), Ruby Tuesday, Inc. (NYSE:RT), Zumiez Inc. (NASDAQ:ZUMZ), Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ACAD), Fortinet Inc (NASDAQ:FTNT) and Apogee Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ:APOG).

Morning Market Update: MetroPCS, Costco, International Paper, YUM!

Market Levels

•    US:  Dow Futures: 14750.00 (0.12%), S&P 500 Futures: 1582.70 (0.00%), NASDAQ Futures: 2846.00 (-0.25%)
•    Europe: CAC: 3760.72 (0.45%), DAX: 7845.92 (0.45%), FTSE: 6406.47 (0.30%)
•    Asia-Pacific: Australia: 5007.10 (0.79%), China: 2219.55 (-0.30%), Hong Kong: 22101.27 (0.30%), India: 5594.00 (0.64%), Japan: 13549.16 (1.93%).
•    Metals: Gold: 1556.10 (-0.17%), Silver: 27.46 (-0.70%), Copper: 3.41 (-0.31%)
•    Energy: Crude Oil: 94.40 (-0.25%), Natural Gas: 4.10 (0.34%)
•    Commodities: Corn: 6.38 (0.72%), Soya Bean: 13.94 (-0.04%), Wheat: 7.06 (-1.26%)
•    Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3105 (0.27%), GBP/USD: 1.5388 (0.36%), USD/JPY: 99.3500 (-0.43%)
•    10 year US Treasury: 1.789% (-0.016)

Market and Economic News Update

U.S. stock-index futures little changed: U.S. stock-index futures are pointing to a flat open on Thursday as data showed fewer than expected Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week. Weekly jobless claims decreased by 42,000 to a seasonally adjusted 346,000, the Labor Department said today. Economists were expecting a reading of 365,000. In other economic news, import prices fell 0.5 percent in March, as lower petroleum costs offset a rise in food prices. NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) was pointing to a lower open, following weakness in personal computer related stocks like Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) and Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC). New IDC data showed personal computer sales in the first quarter were down 14 percent compared to a year earlier.

European markets gain: European markets extended gains into a fourth straight session on Thursday, helped by better-than-expected initial jobless claims data from the U.S. The German DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) surged 0.5 percent to 7845.92 points, the FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) gained 0.3 percent to 6406.47 and the CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) added 0.5 percent to 3760.72 points. The euro zone blue-chip ESTX 50 PR.EUR (INDEXSTOXX:SX5E) (Euro Stoxx 50) was flat in trade today.

Asian markets end mostly higher: Asian markets closed higher on Thursday after positive Chinese bank lending data buoyed overall investor sentiment. Chinese financial institutions extended 1.06 trillion yuan ($171.2 billion) of new local currency credit in March, topping market expectations for 850 billion yuan, according to a Reuters report. The NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) finished 1.9 percent higher, helped by a weaker yen, while the HANG SENG INDEX (INDEXHANGSENG:HIS) closed up 0.3 percent. The SSE Composite Index (SHA:000001) (Shanghai Composite Index) gave up gains made earlier in the day to end 0.3 percent lower. The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index added 0.8 percent, helped by financial stocks. The benchmark Indian 30-share BSE SENSITIVE (INDEXBOM:SENSEX) index gained 0.7 percent to close at 18542.20 points.

Stocks to Watch

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ:BBBY)

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ:BBBY) reported fourth quarter earnings of $1.68 a share, in line with estimates, while revenue came in at $3.40 billion, edging past expectations for $3.39 billion. In addition, the company handed in current-quarter earnings estimates that trailed projections but said it expects full-year earnings to grow by a mid-single digit to a low double-digit percentage. Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ:BBBY) shares closed at $65.50 on Wednesday and climbed in early-hours trading.

Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM)

Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) said March same-store sales in its China division tumbled nearly 13 percent, including an estimated decline of 16 percent at KFC, as news about the new bird flu outbreak in the country took a big toll on sales. Analysts were expecting a 10 percent drop in Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM)’s China same-restaurant sales. Shares in Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) fell 2.6 percent to $65 in pre-market trading following the report.

MetroPCS Communications Inc (NYSE:PCS)

Deutsche Telekom AG (ETR:DTE) (FRA:DTE) sweetened the debt terms for the proposed merger between T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS Communications Inc (NYSE:PCS) to placate shareholders who had threatened to reject the deal. Deutsche Telekom AG (ETR:DTE) (FRA:DTE) said it would reduce the amount of debt the combined company would hold by $3.8 billion. The German operator also said it would lower the interest rate on the loans by 50 basis points. MetroPCS Communications Inc (NYSE:PCS) shares fell close to 2 percent to $11.34 in early morning trade.

Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST)

Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) said same-store sales in March grew by 4 percent, as lower fuel prices and a stronger dollar hurt overseas sales. Analysts had forecast a 5.2 percent rise. Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST), which has 626 warehouse stores around the world, including 449 in the United States, said net sales for the five-week period ended April 7 rose seven percent to $9.67 billion. Shares of Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) were inactive in New York pre-market trading.

International Paper Company (NYSE:IP)

Daniel Loeb’s Third Point LLC said it has added to it position in International Paper Company (NYSE:IP) during the first quarter. “IP has a compelling case for ownership buoyed by excellent sector and secular tailwinds,” Loeb said in his quarterly letter to investors. Memphis-based International Paper Company (NYSE:IP) is the largest player in the North American container board industry. International Paper Company (NYSE:IP) shares closed at $47.73 on Wednesday.

Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE:RAD)

Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE:RAD) swung to a fiscal fourth quarter profit of $123.1 million, or 13 cents a share, from a year-ago loss of $161.3 million, or 18 cents a share. Analysts were expecting Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE:RAD) to post a loss of 2 cents a share. Revenue fell to $6.46 billion from $7.15 billion a year ago, as the third largest U.S. drugstore chain sold more generic drugs. Meanwhile, Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE:RAD) provided fiscal 2014 earnings and revenue outlook that topped market expectations.

Integra Lifesciences Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:IART)

Medical device maker Integra Lifesciences Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:IART) said it is voluntarily recalling certain products and handed in first quarter earnings guidance that trailed Street estimates. Integra Lifesciences Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:IART) will take some collagen products, made at a facility in Puerto Rico, off the market because of manufacturing problems. Shares of Integra Lifesciences Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:IART) plunged in after-hours trading.

Protective Life Corp. (NYSE:PL)

Alabama-based insurer Protective Life Corp. (NYSE:PL) will buy a portfolio of U.S. policies from France’s AXA SA (EPA:CS) for $1.06 billion (820 million euros). AXA SA (EPA:CS), which bought Mony Life Insurance Company in 2004 for $1.5 billion, is selling the insurance brand to Protective Life Corp. (NYSE:PL), the companies said today in separate statements. Protective Life Corp. (NYSE:PL) expects the deal to add between 10 cents and 15 cents to its earnings per share in 2013 and between 55 cents and 65 cents per share in 2014. Protective Life Corp. (NYSE:PL) shares closed up 2 percent at $35.59 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

Ruby Tuesday, Inc. (NYSE:RT)

Restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday, Inc. (NYSE:RT) posted fiscal third quarter earnings excluding one-time items of 10 cents a share, one cent below the average analysts’ estimate. Revenue stood at $307 million compared to projections for $312 million. Same-store sales dropped 2.8 percent from the year-ago period. Ruby Tuesday, Inc. (NYSE:RT) shares fell as much as 3 percent in early trade

Zumiez Inc. (NASDAQ:ZUMZ)

Zumiez Inc. (NASDAQ:ZUMZ)’s March same-store sales increased 2.1 percent, much better than analysts’ forecasts for a 7.5 percent drop from the year-ago period. Zumiez Inc. (NASDAQ:ZUMZ) said improved sales in its juniors and hard goods unit helped post the strong numbers. Zumiez Inc. (NASDAQ:ZUMZ) shares soared $2.60 to $27.50 in pre-market trading.

Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ACAD)

Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ACAD) said it has gathered sufficient data for its “Pimavanserin” Parkinson’s Disease treatment to file a New Drug Application, lifting shares higher in early Thursday trading. Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ACAD) said it will no longer conduct another phase-3 study, which was due to begin later this month.

Fortinet Inc (NASDAQ:FTNT)

Fortinet Inc (NASDAQ:FTNT) said it expects to post adjusted first-quarter earnings of 10 cents per share, on revenue of $134 million to $136 million, disappointing analysts who expected the network-security company to report a profit of 12 cents per share on sales of $140 million. Fortinet Inc (NASDAQ:FTNT) Chief Executive Officer Ken Xie said the weak macro-economic environment in Latin America, Europe and Middle East, as well as inventory shortages, negatively impacted the results. Shares of Fortinet Inc (NASDAQ:FTNT) plunged in morning trade. Rival networking security vendor Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ:CHKP) also fell following the news.

Apogee Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ:APOG)

Industrial glass products maker Apogee Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ:APOG) reported fourth quarter earnings of 15 cents per share, missing Street expectations for 17 cents per share, while revenue came in line with estimates at $180 million. In addition, Apogee Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ:APOG) forecast full-year per-share earnings of between 90 cents and $1, on revenue growth in the high single percentage digits. Analysts had projected earnings of 97 cents a share on revenue growth of 7 percent. Apogee Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ:APOG) shares fell $2.44, or 8.4 percent, to $26.75 in early-hours trading.

Economic Calendar for Thursday, April 11, 2013:

06:00 A.M. ET:    Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser speaks.
08:30 A.M. ET:    Initial Jobless Claims (April 6)
08:30 A.M. ET:    Continuing Jobless Claims (March 30)
08:30 A.M. ET:    Import Price Index (MoM) (March)
08:30 A.M. ET:    Export Price Index (MoM) (March)
08:30 A.M. ET:    Import Price Index (YoY) (March)
08:30 A.M. ET:    Export Price Index (YoY) (March)
08:30 A.M. ET:    St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard speaks.
10:30 A.M. ET:    EIA Natural Gas Report (Week ending Friday, April 05)
01:00 P.M. ET:     30-Year Bond Auction
04:30 P.M. ET:     Fed Balance Sheet
04:30 P.M. ET:     Money Supply

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