What’s the Story?

by CC March 23, 2012 9:05 am • Commentary

Yahoo Finance

Broad market futures are essentially flat, despite renewed weakness in Europe. Such listless action leaves the S&P 500 on pace for a weekly loss of almost 1%. That would mark only the first weekly decline in six weeks and the second in 12. The hot streak has the S&P 500 sitting on a year-to-date gain of nearly 11%.

Last evening Accenture (ACN 64.46, +0.94) announced better-than-expected earnings for the latest quarter, and complemented that feat with upside guidance. As for Nike (NKE 111.25, +0.26), it announced an upside earnings surprise of its own. Meanwhile, Micron (MU 8.3.8, -0.33) came short of the consensus earnings estimate. Darden Restaurants (DRI 51.84, +0.01) announced this morning earnings that exceeded what had been widely anticipated on Wall Street. Note: ticker quotes reflect premarket prices.

The only piece of economic data on tap for today is the monthly new home sales report at 10 AM ET.


The dollar traded mostly lower Friday, while the euro trimmed earlier gains as Spanish and Italian bond yields continued to edge higher.

The ICE dollar index DXY -0.27% , which measures the greenback’s performance against a basket of six major rival currencies, eased to 79.518 from 79.745 late Thursday.

The euro EURUSD +0.42% traded at $1.3231, up from $1.3170 in North American trading Thursday. The shared currency also rose to 109.19 yen EURJPY +0.41% , up from ¥108.74.

Italian and Spanish bonds continued to feel pressure Friday, sending yields higher. Italy’s 10-year yield IT:10YR_ITA +1.93% rose 0.18 of a percentage point to 5.20%, while Spain’s 10-year yield ES:10YR_ESP +0.72%  rose 0.05 of a point, reaching 5.51%.


Stocks to Watch

Among the stocks that could see active trade in Friday’s session are Darden Restaurants Inc., KB Home and Micron Technology Inc.

Darden is slated to report its fiscal third-quarter earnings before the start of trading. It’s expected to earn $1.24 a share on revenue of $2.15 billion, according to the average estimate of analysts polled by FactSet Research. Same-store sales at the parent of Red Lobster and Olive Garden are seen rising 4%.

Also up in the morning is KB Home and the company should lose 24 cents a share on revenue of $334.9 million if Wall Street’s best guess is on the mark.

Nike late Thursday said fiscal third-quarter profit was up 7%, with future orders indicating good demand into the summer season.

Micron Technology shares fell 3% Thursday evening after the chip maker reported that it swung into the red in its fiscal second quarter on declining sales and rising costs.


Overnight Headlines (Links)

BofA Tests an Option to Foreclosure

SEC Probes Rapid Trading

Fed Hosts Global Gathering on Easy Money

Fed Official Nods to ‘Volcker’ Route

TIPS Sell at Negative Yield For Second Time Ever

Darden Results Expect ‘Comforting’ Review

Amazon Faces Taxing Times

A Fashion Makeover for China IPOs in U.S.