US stocks are set to start the week on a down beat as investors await corporate earnings and speculate about what December 2013's poor jobs growth means for the world’s largest economy, and the Federal Reserve’s plans for winding down its stimulus program.
Despite Friday’s woefully disappointing employment situation report, two of the three main stock indices booked gains last week. This week, earnings from three of America’s four biggest banks, retail sales data, and a speech by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke could have a huge effect on the markets. On Monday, with no major economic data points on the calendar, stock futures are indicating a lower open.
Futures contracts on the Dow Jones Industrial Average
(INDEXDJX:.DJI) were down 0.06% to 16,371. S&P 500
(INDEXSP:.INX) futures fell 0.21% to 1,833.80 and Nasdaq
(INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures sank 0.13% to 3,556.75.
Shares of Beam Inc.
(NYSE:BEAM) jumped 27% in pre-market trading today after Japan’s Suntory Holdings, Ltd. said that it will buy the maker of Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Canadian Club, and other spirits for $16 billion. The transaction will make Suntory the third-largest spirits company in the world. Diageo plc
(NYSE:DEO), the largest, was also vying for the American distiller. The purchasing price represents a huge premium over the company’s share price on Friday. Suntory stands to gain a bigger foothold in foreign markets with the new subsidiary.
Shares of Twitter Inc
(NYSE:TWTR) rose 3.9% to $59.24 after a Goldman Sachs
(NYSE:GS) analyst reiterated his bullish rating on the stock and rose his price target to $65 from $46 per share.
"Over the course of the past quarter we have seen significant acceleration in the pace of Twitter’s product innovation, with nearly 4x the number of enhancements designed to drive user growth, engagement, and incremental monetization as in any prior quarter," said analyst Heath Terry.
Lululemon Athletica Inc.
(NASDAQ:LULU) shares fell $13.2% after the yoga-gear company cut its earnings forecast. Due to an unexpected drop in December 2013 store traffic, the company now expects fourth-quarter revenue between $513 million and $518 million, compared to its previous forecasts of $535 million to $540 million. Earnings per share are now projected to fall between $0.71 and $0.73.
"We were on track to deliver on our sales and earnings guidance through the month of December; however, since the beginning of January, we have seen traffic and sales trends decelerate meaningfully,” said chief financial officer John Currie.
(NYSE:TGT) CEO Gregg Steinhafel told CNBC that the big-box retailer will make significant changes to its data security policy after millions of customers’ personal information was stolen during the holiday season. Last week, the retailer confirmed that at least 70 million customers’ names, addresses, and contact information was stolen after hackers put malware on Target’s cash registers.
(NASDAQ:SYMC) shares fell 2.2% this morning after Morgan Stanley
(NYSE:MS) lowered its rating on the computer anti-virus company’s shares to Underweight from Equal Weight.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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