The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) has gained 29 points in pre-market trading, suggesting a positive start to the stock market today. Major global indexes were higher in overnight trading, with European shares rising almost 1% after new data pointed to improving consumer confidence on the continent.
Investors will get a fresh reading on the U.S. consumer today as well. The University of Michigan is set to release its final March estimate of consumer confidence at 9:55 a.m EDT; the figure is expected to come in at 80, close to a post-recession high.
BlackBerry today booked a brutal 64% drop in fourth-quarter revenue, to below $1 billion. To put that sales dip in perspective, it was more than $1.7 billion below last year's quarterly tally. Still, the smartphone provider's overall adjusted loss totaled just $0.08 a share, far better than the $0.67 in red ink it booked a quarter ago, and well above the $0.55 a share loss that analysts were fearing. CEO John Chen said in a press release that aggressive cost reductions have put the company back on "a path to returning to growth and profitability," with BlackBerry aiming to reach breakeven cash flow results over the next four quarters. Investors seem to be cheering that not-so-horrible result: The stock was up 1.3% in pre-market trading.
Finish Line today posted strong fourth-quarter earnings results. The shoe seller booked a 17% rise in revenue to $519 million, or slightly below analysts' estimates of $525 million. Comparable-store sales were up 6.3%, which was a better result than most retailers managed over the holidays. Finish Line's profit also improved by 14.5% to $0.87 a share. The company just completed its expansion into over 600 Macy's department stores and is expecting that initiative to help earnings rise substantially in the year ahead. Comparable-store sales should grow in the "mid single digits" this year as well, the company said. Finish Line's stock was up 2.2% in pre-market trading.
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