Stock Market Today: Why Intel and Express Are Moving Higher

After posting two triple-digit declines in a row, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) has gained 10 points in pre-market trading, suggesting a flat start to the stock market today. World indexes were mixed in overnight night trading: Asian shares gained while European stocks were down by 0.8% as of 8:30 a.m. EDT. But Intel (NASDAQ: INTC  ) and Express (NYSE: EXPR  ) both look set to jump today as breaking news sent the stocks higher.

Image source: Intel.

Intel's stock was up 6.4% in pre-market trading after the tech giant last night boosted its forecast for sales and profitability growth in its fiscal second quarter. CEO Brian Krzanich said in an April press release that the company saw "signs of improvement in the PC business," and those gains appear to have snowballed. Intel yesterday raised its sales forecast from $13 billion to $13.7 billion thanks mainly to higher PC sales. Even better news for investors, though, is that the extra volume isn't coming at the expense of profits: Intel also sees gross margin clocking in at 64% of sales, compared to the 63% it forecast in April. The company now expects 2014 to deliver some overall sales growth, which investors have to be happy about. Intel reports its second-quarter results on July 15.

Express has a target on its back. The fashion retailer confirmed last night that private equity firm Sycamore Partners has accumulated 9.9% of its outstanding shares and is interested in buying the rest. Express' management said in a press release that it will consider the idea, but the board of directors also adopted a so-called "poison pill" to protect against what could become a forced takeover attempt. In a filing with the SEC last night, Sycamore said it will be ready to deliver an offer after getting clearance from Express' board to look under the hood so that it can come up with a "definitive valuation" of the company. Express' shares have fallen by 30% so far in 2014 as the retailer posted weak earnings results. Last quarter, for example, comparable-store sales plummeted by 11%. But the stock looks set to recover almost all of this year's losses today: Express gained 22% in pre-market trading.

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