AOL, CVS, and Office Depot all reported strong earnings this morning.
Stock futures point to a higher open on Wall Street today as Americans head to the polls. US stocks are tracking gains in European markets this morning as hope grows that the European debt crisis is starting to subside. The big headlines today, though, will center on the presidential election results. By all indications, it is a very tight race, with President Barack Obama appearing to have a small lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney in key swing states. With the potential for a close race, the most important thing is that come tonight, we have a president elect and not a protracted squabble like we saw with Bush vs. Gore in 2000.
Stocks have essentially been in a holding pattern in the days leading up to the election, unable to break definitely to the upside or downside. Strong economic data late last week led to a higher open on Friday, but that gap up was sold off hard. Yesterday, stocks recovered from some early selling to finish modestly higher. Today, it will be interesting to see how the market responds to the first headlines about voting. Some analysts believe the re-election of President Obama will make negotiating the fiscal cliff more difficult, and thus weigh on the market a bit. We will let the price action do the talking before making directional bets.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), as usual, will be firmly on traders' radars as it tries to recover from a steep sell-off over the last month. The stock lost support of its 200-day moving average on Friday in a sharp decline, but yesterday found some footing after announcing it had sold three million fourth-generation iPads in three days. The stock finished 1.4% higher, but still has some work to do to repair its somewhat broken chart. Right now, AAPL is more of a short-term trading vehicle as opposed to a swing trading position.
While the bulk of major earnings are now in the rear view, there are a couple of reports to track this morning. AOL (NYSE:AOL) is 3% higher pre-market after topping Wall Street expectations with its earnings report, mainly due to a better-than-expected surge in advertising revenue. CVS (NYSE:CVS) also reported this morning and is almost 2% higher after beating consensus estimates. To round out a strong pre-market batch of earnings, Office Depot (NYSE:ODP) is 7.5% higher ahead of the open after handily topping its EPS expectations. While not bellwether companies, the trio of strong reports only adds to the bullish bias this morning.