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 suggest a flat start for the stock market today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) set to rise just 21 points at the opening bell. But there are plenty of exciting corporate developments within that dull beginning for the broader market, including Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) entrance into the next-generation console war and Time Warner Cable's (UNKNOWN:TWC.DL) potential purchase by a smaller rival. Foot Locker (NYSE:FL) also released quarterly earnings results this morning that cheered investors.
But let's start in tech, where Microsoft's Xbox One gaming console sees its debut today in more than a dozen markets around the world. The next-gen device has a tough act to follow, as Sony (NYSE:SNE) said last week that it sold 1 million PlayStation 4 units in its first day of availability. For perspective, Nintendo has only managed to sell 4 million units of its struggling Wii U device since launching the system last year. Microsoft has high hopes that the Xbox One can build on the success of the Xbox 360, which won the last legs of the prior-generation console war. However, shackled by the steepest price of the three major consoles and having reversed some digital-rights management policies that angered gamers, Microsoft's device could struggle out of the gate.
Time Warner Cable is also in focus after The Wall Street Journal reported last night that Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR) is raising cash for a potential bid to buy the company. It might seem odd for a $13 billion company to try to purchase a $34 billion one, but Charter is being supported in the process by Liberty Media, its largest shareholder. The potential merger of the second- and fourth-biggest cable operators could help the companies better deal with spiking programming costs, but that's assuming Charter can craft a proposal that's attractive enough for Time Warner's shareholders. Time Warner Cable stock is up 4.3% in premarket trading.
Finally, Foot Locker this morning said its third-quarter revenue grew 6.4% to reach $1.6 billion. Profit ticked higher on a per-share basis, hitting $0.70 a share from last year's $0.69 haul. Both earnings and sales figures came in higher than analysts had expected. Powering that outperformance was a strong comparable-store sales boost of 4.1%. The company also opened a net 15 new stores in the quarter, bringing its base to 3,510 locations. Foot Locker's stock is up 3.4% in premarket trading.