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.
According to stock index futures as of 7:20 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) will open flat this morning, rising by a meager two points at the opening bell. World markets were little changed overnight following the Dow's third straight losing session yesterday.
Investors will get an update on the strength of consumers when confidence figures from the Conference Board are released at 10 a.m. EDT. The report is expected to show that the Consumer Confidence Index slipped to 80 points, roughly the same as last month's reading of 81.5.
With those bigger trends in mind, here are a few individual stock stories to watch for in today's market.
Boeing (NYSE: BA ) can't expect to win them all. The South Korean government voted down Boeing's bid to supply $7.7 billion worth of F-15 fighter planes. While Boeing's was the only bid that came in within budget, it was rejected on complaints that the jet is lacking in stealth capabilities, according to Reuters. The bidding process is set to restart, with Lockheed Martin and its F-35A plane now the preferred option. Boeing shares are down 0.7% in premarket trading, as many had considered the contract win to be all but guaranteed.
Outside the Dow, Lennar (NYSE: LEN ) reported earnings this morning that were considerably higher than expected. The homebuilder saw sales jump by 55% and profit climb to $0.54 a share, which was well above the $0.40 it logged a year ago and the $0.45 that Wall Street was looking for. Gross margin also ticked up by 1.7 percentage points to 24.9% as new-home deliveries increased by 37%. Still, rising interest rates may have crimped sales during the quarter, as Lennar noted a "moderating sales pace." The company did manage to end the quarter with a 53% larger backlog, though. Shares are up 1.3% in premarket trading.
CarMax (NYSE: KMX ) announced second-quarter results that also beat expectations. Sales were up 18%, and earnings grew even faster, rising 29% to $0.62 a share. CarMax saw broad-based growth in the quarter, as used-car sales, wholesale sales, and financing income all grew by double digits. CarMax shares are up 4.4% in premarket trading.
Finally, Applied Materials (NASDAQ: AMAT ) announced a merger with Tokyo Electron this morning, creating a new $30 billion company focused on innovating materials for mobile chips and displays. The combined chip equipment maker hopes to realize $250 million in annual savings in its first year. Current Applied Materials shareholders will own about two-thirds of the new company, with Tokyo Electron shareholders owning the rest. Applied Materials' stock is up 6.3% in premarket trading.
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