U.S. stock futures are higher heading into the open, indicative of a potentially positive start to the regular session. In overseas trading, Japanese investors were digesting the country's latest interest-rate news, while commodity-related stocks were taking a hit in Europe. In focus this morning are US Airways' plans to cut capacity, Exxon Mobil's response to the rising cost of gasoline, Smith & Wesson Holding's most recent earnings report, and the latest in the Yahoo!-Microsoft-Google saga.
US Airways (LCC: sentiment, chart, options) is set to open significantly lower this morning after the airline stated it will cut capacity and jobs. More specifically, LCC plans to cut fourth-quarter mainline capacity by 6% to 8% and slash roughly 1,700 jobs – about 800 airport employees, 400 flight attendants, 300 pilots, and 200 staff and management positions. The firm yesterday also announced it will charge $15 for passengers' first checked bag.
The Dallas Morning News reported that Exxon Mobil (XOM: sentiment, chart, options) plans to sell 2,220 of its approximately 12,000 branded service stations in the U.S. due to the rising cost of gasoline and increased competition.
In earnings news, Smith & Wesson Holding (SWHC: sentiment, chart, options) reported fourth-quarter earnings of $3.3 million, or 8 cents per share, on revenue of $82.6 million. Analysts, on average, were expecting earnings of 5 cents per share on revenue of $77.4 million. In premarket activity, the shares of SWHC are set to open moderately higher than their Thursday close of $5.19.
Finally, after months of speculation, Yahoo! (YHOO: sentiment, chart, options) and Microsoft (MSFT: sentiment, chart, options) have reportedly ended merger discussions with no agreement. Instead, YHOO stated it's pursuing an advertising deal with Google ( GOOG: sentiment, chart, options). As a result of the news, YHOO investors responded with a wave of selling pressure, pushing the shares more than 10% lower before the close on Thursday.
Opening View: Smith & Wesson Earnings Shoot Past Expectations