European markets headed for new highs on Friday morning as strong earnings from U.K. telecoms incumbent BT Grou, and the world's largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, helped lift the major indices. BT's fourth-quarter earnings beat analysts' estimates, and the firm raised its free cash flow forecasts ahead of previous expectations, helping to drive an 11.6% gain for the firm's stock by 7 a.m. ET. The FTSE 100 was up 0.6% at 7 a.m., while Germany's DAX was 0.8% higher.
Today's U.S. Federal budget for April is due at 2 p.m. ET, but with no major economic reports or corporate earnings due today, yesterday's after-hours results may influence trading this morning. Highlights of last night's results include Priceline.com, which reported first-quarter profits of $4.76 per share, up from $3.54 per share during the same period last year. However, Priceline.com stock was down 2.7% in after-hours trading, most likely because the firm's second-quarter forecast came in below analysts' estimates. NVIDIA also released strong results, reporting adjusted first-quarter earnings of $0.18 per share, up from $0.16 per share one year ago. NVIDIA stock was up by 3.4% in German trading this morning, suggesting the stock could perform strongly when U.S. markets open.
Other companies that could be actively traded today include Tesla, which gained an incredible 24% in trading yesterday, after reporting an 83% surge in revenue, and the firm's first quarterly profit for ten years. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters put in a similar performance yesterday, climbing 27%, after it reported a 14% rise in revenues and a 45% increase in adjusted earnings per share. Green Mountain stock has now gained 180% in the last 12 months, although it remains below its all-time high of more than $100.
Companies that are due to report before markets open this morning include Beacon Roofing Supply, Diamondrock Hospitality Co., EV Energy Partners and Hecla Mining, which reported a 16% fall in first-quarter sales to $76.5m, because of lower silver prices. Hecla, which is the second-largest U.S. silver producer, said that first-quarter profits had fallen to $11m from $12.5m the previous year.
Finally, let's not forget the Dow's daily movements can add up to some serious long-term gains. Indeed, Warren Buffett recently wrote: "The Dow advanced from 66 to 11,497 in the 20th Century, a staggering 17,320% increase that materialized despite four costly wars, a Great Depression and many recessions."
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