Investors can expect a flat start to the stock market today, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) has lost a moderate 13 points in pre-market trading. Global markets were flat in overnight trading despite the new record high that the S&P 500 logged yesterday.
Next up on the economic calendar is the February reading on consumer confidence from the Conference Board. That report is expected to show that consumers are still relatively pessimistic about the job market, but have a better outlook on the economy and on their current financial positions. Economists expect the confidence number to clock in at 82 out of 100 -- roughly equal to last month's result -- when it is released at 9:55 a.m EST.
3D Systems said this morning that fourth-quarter revenue grew by 52% to $155 million, exactly what the company had guided to in its preliminary forecast earlier this month. Sales of 3-D printing products leapt by 76% in the quarter, but printing materials and other categories increased at a slower sales pace, which held back overall growth. Still, the company's gross profit margin was steady at 52% and organic growth came in stronger than expected at 34%. 3D Systems also affirmed its revenue forecast for 2014 of $700 million, which would represent a nearly 40% increase from last year's result. Shares are up 1.4% in pre-market trading.
Mattel announced today that it is buying the Canadian toy company Mega Brands for $460 million. For that price, Mattel gets a dominant player in the $4 billion construction building sets toy category, along with a promising group of brands in the $2 billion arts and crafts category. Mattel doesn't appear to have overpaid for these assets, either: It is buying the company for less than 10 times Mega Brands' 2013 profit and slightly more than one times sales. Mattel's stock is up 1.1% in pre-market trading.
Finally, Pepco this morning booked fourth-quarter earnings of $0.23 a share, slightly above the $0.21 that analysts expected. Upgrades to the electric utility's infrastructure allowed it to lower the number and duration of power outages customers saw in the year, which drove rates higher. Pepco said that it expects earnings in 2014 to rise by about 5% to $1.20 a share, which is even with Wall Street's projections. The stock is unchanged in pre-market trading.
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