Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
Maybe the seventh try is the charm. After the U.S.' premier blue-chip index closed out its sixth straight session in the red, stock index futures at 7:20 a.m. EDT indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) will open a moderate 41 points higher this morning.
U.S. markets could get a lift today from good news out of Europe. Better-than-expected manufacturing data suggests that the recovery there could be gaining steam. Business activity in the eurozone rose by the largest amount in two years. While manufacturing output fell slightly in France, it spiked in Germany. And output figures improved in the rest of the eurozone for the first time since May of 2011. European markets traded higher on the news, with the Stoxx Europe 50 up by more than 1%.
Closer to home, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) stock should see active trading today. The tech giant announced quarterly earnings after the closing bell yesterday that included a 14% drop in profit to $0.86 per share. Revenue was down 8% from the prior year to $27.2 billion. While that was almost exactly what Wall Street had expected, investors got some unwelcome news in the earnings report as well.
HP's enterprise group turned in particularly bad results, with revenue falling by 9% and profitability declining as well. And HP's personal-systems division, which competes in the shrinking PC market, saw sales plunge by 11%. CEO Meg Whitman was downbeat about the company's prospects for a quick recovery next year, saying, "We now expect that total company year-over-year revenue growth in fiscal 2014 is unlikely." While HP's stock is up almost 80% this year, it looks set to give back some of those impressive gains today. Shares are down by more than 7% in premarket trading.
Sears (NASDAQ: SHLD) shares are also down about 7% in premarket trading. The retailer announced this morning that it lost $1.83 per share last quarter. Revenue fell by $596 million to $8.9 billion. Sears did make progress in getting shoppers to sign up for its "Shop Your Way" loyalty program. Those loyalty members are now responsible for 65% of revenue compared to 55% a year ago. However, that improvement wasn't enough to drive actual sales growth. Comparable-store sales shrank by 2.1% at Kmart and about 1% at domestic Sears stores. Sears' Canadian locations also booked a 2.5% drop.