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.
Expect a flat start to the stock market today, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) gained an insignificant 11 points in premarket trading this morning. Markets are still licking their wounds after yesterday's nearly 200-point Dow dive that was spurred by fears that stock valuations have become stretched. Hundreds of companies are set to report earnings results over the next few weeks, which will go a long way toward relieving, or confirming, those worries.
Meanwhile, news is breaking this morning on a few stocks that could see heavy trading in today's session, including JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), Stratasys (NASDAQ: SSYS), and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC).
JPMorgan today announced results for its fiscal fourth quarter in which earnings fell by 7% from the prior-year period. The nation's largest bank booked $5.3 billion in profit in the quarter, or $1.30 a share. That was slightly below the $1.35 mark that Wall Street expected. Revenue ticked lower by 1%, to $24.1 billion, above analysts' estimates of $23.7 billion. JPMorgan was able to put several high-profile legal and regulatory settlements behind it in the quarter, including a settlement tied to the Bernie Madoff case that drained $1.1 billion out of reported earnings. The stock is unchanged in premarket trading.
Stratasys this morning issued mixed profit and sales guidance for 2014. The 3-D printing company said earnings should come in at about $2.20 a share, below the $2.33 that Wall Street was targeting. The reason for the shortfall is that Stratasys expects to significantly ramp up spending on marketing and selling expenses while also plowing cash into research and development. Still, the company said it should book overall sales of $670 million in 2014, about 40% more than last year's tally. Stratasys' stock is down 3% in premarket trading.
Finally, Time Warner Cable's stock is up 1.8% in premarket trading after the company rejected a buyout bid from rival Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR). Calling Charter's offer price of $132.50 a share "grossly inadequate," Time Warner also balked at the high proportion of Charter stock that was included in the proposed deal. Instead, the cable operator said that a purchase price of $160 a share -- including $100 in cash -- would be a better starting point for any negotiations. .
Start 2014 off right
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