Before The Bell: Strong Retail?; Healthy Merck
Retailers may be stronger than many thought. Merck is looking good. Futures are lower.
Briefing.com reports research firm Jefferies expects retailers to report better-than-expected comparable store sales for the month of November. The research firm maintains buy ratings on a number of retailers, citing strong sales from Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day weekend. The report coincides with a story from Reuters that cooler weather in November should also boost same-store-sales figures across the industry. Read Professor Kevin Depew's Five Things You Need To Know: Black Friday Boom/Bust from last week.
From the Bull Pen: Jefferies maintains buy ratings on Wal-Mart (WMT) and BJ's (BJ); those in agreement may place trading sell-stops below $46.50 and $34.75 respectively. An alternative may be Sony (SNE). Last week Professor Jeff Macke suggested the stock may have bottomed out. Bulls may see an entry should the stock retest its 200 DMA ($51.09); sell-stops may be set below.
From the Bear Cave: Bears that want to fade (read: sell) Sears (SHLD) can set buy-stops above $115, which is the downtrend line from September.
Bloomberg reports Merck (MRK) has forecasted that earnings would rise between $3.28 to $3.38 per share in 2008. The company will offset portions of its $3.1 bln in annual sales of its osteoporosis drug Fosamax with sales of newer drugs and cholesterol pills. Just yesterday, the company announced a $170.5 mln partnership with Swiss biotech company Addex to develop a drug for Parkinson's disease. Todd mentioned pharma as a defensive play in Monday Morning Quarterback.
From the Bull Pen: Pharma bulls may see a play in Merck with support at $55.58, which also coincides with its 50 DMA. Sell-stops may be placed below.
From the Bear Cave: Those bearish in the pharma space may see a downside play in Eli Lilly (LLY); buy-stops may be placed above the October high ($54.42). Pfizer (PFE) may also be an option with buy-stops above $24.
Click on Minyanville's Stocks To Watch for more company-specific ideas.
Quick Check Around the World
Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +0.77%, Nikkei -0.95%, Sensex -0.38%, Taiwan +0.79% and Shanghai +0.97%.
A quick look across the pond finds the CAC -1.23%, DAX -0.26%, FTSE -1.24%, ATX -2.28%, Swiss Mkt. -0.90% and Stockholm -2.07%.
A Look At Commodities
Crude oil is lower 0.55 to 88.76. Gold is higher 7.30 to 802.00. Silver is up 0.21 to 14.42, and copper is down 8.9 to 298.95.
As of 8:30 AM, S&P futures are lower by 7.80 points, and Nasdaq futures are down by 16.50 points.
On the Radar
Today's a light radar with no economic events scheduled.
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Good luck today!
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