U.S. markets are slated to give back yesterday's final-hour gains, with futures on the Dow Jones Inudstrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) and S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) indicating a 0.7% fall at the open as of this writing. Let's take a look at a few of the major storylines for this morning.
World markets tumble
International markets are falling this morning, with Asian and European markets broadly lower after digesting poorly received Federal Reserve minutes from yesterday afternoon, along with other overnight data releases. One key overnight development was South Korea's decision to lower interest rates for the first time in more than three years. The cut from Asia's fourth-largest economy comes in conjunction with a lower economic growth forecast of 3.3%, versus prior estimates of 3.7%, as it deals with dampened domestic spending and exports. The move also follows rate cuts in China and Europe last week.
In the U.S., weekly jobless claims are released at 8:30 a.m. EDT this morning. Expectations are for 370,000 new claims, down 4,000 from last week's report. After rising throughout May, last week's report encouraged investors ahead of the June nonfarm payrolls report. While the June numbers ultimately disappointed, a continued downtrend in claims throughout the month should bode well for July labor data.
25% off at SUPERVALU
After yesterday's market close, grocer SUPERVALU (NYSE: SVU ) reported quarterly results well below expectations, posting $0.19 in EPS, a full 50% below analyst estimates. But it's not the numbers alone causing this morning's 25% premarket plunge. Burdened by a massive debt load used to acquire Albertsons in 2006, SUPERVALU also announced it would be suspending its dividend and weighing a potential sale. The company reiterated that bankruptcy is not on the table and moved to restructure certain debt obligations by using real-estate assets as collateral, increasing the company's financial flexibility.
In other earnings news, industrial-supplies company Fastenal (Nasdaq: FAST ) was able to beat analyst expectations by a penny, announcing EPS of $0.38, despite falling a little short of the revenue line. Insurer Progressive (NYSE: PGR ) also reports earnings this morning, with analysts expecting EPS of $0.27 on $4.1 billion in revenue.
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