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.
Index futures as of 7:30 a.m. EST suggest a negative start for the stock market today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) set to lose 68 points at the opening bell.
The Department of Labor released its much-anticipated (and shutdown-delayed) Employment Situation report this morning, which showed that the economy added a strong 204,000 jobs last month. That was well above the 120,000 that economists were expecting. The unemployment rate ticked up to 7.3%, as expected. August and September job gains were revised higher by a cumulative 60,000 jobs.
With that bigger picture in mind, here a few stock stories to watch for in today's market.
The lesson that Disney (NYSE:DIS) apparently took from its The Lone Ranger flop was to spend more time developing movies. The House of Mouse last night pushed out the release of Star Wars: Episode VII until Dec. 18, 2015, instead of the earlier "summer 2015" target. Disney has been extra cautious with its animated films as well, which is why 2014 will be the first in eight years that audiences won't have a new Pixar movie to watch. Still, Disney's earnings results showed the power of its diverse entertainment empire: Revenue increased by 7%, and quarterly profit jumped 13% as the parks and resorts business shined. Disney stock is down 1.3% in premarket trading.
McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) saw its revenue creep higher in October. The fast-food king said this morning that comparable sales were up just 0.5% globally last month, with the U.S. market rising 0.2%. New menu items, including Mighty Wings and a Pumpkin Spice Latte, contributed to the increase, but McDonald's is still struggling to get growth in an ultra-competitive market. The stock is slightly lower in premarket trading.
Finally, Lionsgate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF-A) this morning reported slightly better quarterly earnings than expected but missed on sales estimates. Revenue fell by 29%, hurt by comparisons to the year-ago quarter that benefited from the success of The Hunger Games. Lionsgate has three more films from the blockbuster franchise lined up for release over the next few years, beginning with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire later this month. Lionsgate's stock is up 2% in premarket trading .