MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Before the bell: Stocks to start lower; SPLS drops; HD higher; TGT, HPQ on tap

A day after smaller Lowe's (NYSE: LOW) reported a profit drop, The Home Depot (NYSE: HD) followed suit, reporting a 24% profit decline for the second quarter. It held onto its earnings outlook as second-quarter net fell 24% to $1.2 billion, or 71 cents per share. Sales declined 5.4% to $21 billion. Analysts had projected earnings per share of 61 cents on revenue of $20.58 billion. Home Depot shares rose 2% in premarket trading.

Other retailers scheduled to release earnings include discounter Target (NYSE: TGT) -- could it follow Wal-Mart's results? -- while Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) is to report after the close -- AP preview.

Meanwhile, Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS) issued a profit warning, saying that "Challenging market conditions continued during the company's second quarter, resulting in weaker than anticipated results in Staples' pre-acquisition business." Staples said sales increased approximately 3% and earnings per share decreased approximately 15% yoy. Shares of Staples declined nearly 6.5% in premarket trading.


General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) announced it is buying Switzerland's Jet Aviation for about $2.25 billion cash to expand its business-aviation services.

Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) is set to show off today a new chip that directly controls the memory in computers, invading one of the last market niches dominated by Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD). By combining the memory and processing functions into a single chip it can help pull up data and perform calculations faster as well as improve handling of video and sound files, and share work among computers. Intel could once again take the lead over AMD here.

The financial sector will remain the one investors are most concerned about, and many stocks will likely see some volatile trade. CNBC and Bloomberg both came out saying that the credit crisis is only half through and could get worse.
After Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE) and Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM) dropped big Monday due to a report suggesting the U.S. Treasury is urging both to raise more capital which is expected to wipe out stockholders, both stocks are up in premarket trading, but that could change in a heartbeat.
Elsewhere, a JP Morgan analyst said Lehman Brothers (NYSE: LEH) will likely take a further $4 billion of write-downs in the third-quarter due to losses stemming from sour mortgage-related investments.

And following so many problems with its MobileMe software, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has offered MobileMe subscribers a free 60-day extension of their current subscription.

Before the bell: Stocks to start lower; SPLS drops; HD higher; TGT, HPQ on tap - BloggingStocks



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