MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Opening View: Alcoa Beats Second-Quarter Earnings Expectations

U.S. stock futures are mixed in early trading, as traders weigh last night's earnings report from Alcoa (AA) and new developments in the Middle East that could pressure crude prices higher. Specifically, oil-exporter Iran said it test-fired a 1,200-mile range missile. The country has threatened to shut the Strait of Hormuz were it to go to war with Israel or the United States. In equity news, Google (GOOG) is reportedly struggling with YouTube ad sales, while Wolverine World Wide (WWW) and Sealy (ZZ) joined the growing list of companies releasing quarterly earnings reports.

In currencies, the U.S. Dollar Index has lost 0.29% in early trading, as the dollar pulls back against its major foreign competitors. The weak greenback is having little effect on gold prices, however, as the August gold futures contract is off $1.50 an ounce to $921.80. Finally, news out of Iran is helping crude futures rebound from heavy losses during the past 2 trading sessions. In electronic trading, the August crude futures contract is up $1.91 at $137.92 per barrel.

In equities news, aluminum giant Alcoa (AA: View sentiment for AAsentiment, chart, options) kicked off the third-quarter earnings season in fine fashion last night. The company reported fiscal second-quarter earnings of $546 million, or 66 cents per share. The results include a charge of 5 cents per share relating to a gas-pipeline explosion in Western Australia and power disruptions in Texas. Sales came in at $7.6 billion. Analysts were looking for a profit of 65 cents per share on sales of $7.37 billion.

Elsewhere, Sealy (ZZ: View sentiment for ZZsentiment, chart, options) posted a second-quarter profit of $12 million, or 13 cents per share, down from $16.1 million, or 17 cents per share, last year. Revenue dropped to $375.4 million from $401.8 million. Wall Street was looking for earnings of 5 cents per share on revenue of $381.8 million.

Also in earnings, Wolverine World Wide (WWW: View sentiment for WWWsentiment, chart, options) reported second-quarter net income of $16.8 million, or 33 cents per share, up from $15.5 million, or 28 cents per share, in prior year. Revenue arrived at $267.4 million, up from $250.3 million. The consensus expected earnings of 31 cents per share. The company also affirmed full-year targets.

Finally, there could be a spot of trouble in the world of online advertising. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Google (GOOG: View sentiment for GOOGsentiment, chart, options) is struggling to sell advertising on YouTube. The Journal projects that 2008 revenue of about $200 million will fall short of expectations, citing people familiar with the matter. The Internet behemoth has also significantly cut the number of YouTube clips it will sell ads for in an attempt to avoid placing ads on videos that may violate copyrights.



Opening View: Alcoa Beats Second-Quarter Earnings Expectations



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