Pre-market Trading Report, Feb. 21, 2014: The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 92 points on Thursday to finish at 16,133.23. The Nasdaq rose 0.7% to 4,267.55, while the S&P increased 11 points to close at 1,839.78.
Here's what's ahead for today's market:
Five Biggest Stories in the Stock Market Today, Feb. 21, 2014
- The App Wars Continue: Engadget.com reports that Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) is developing an app that will allow users to automatically log into local WiFi hotspots around the country. The company will likely partner with firms like Starbucks Corp. (Nasdaq: SBUX) coffee shops that already have extensive WiFi infrastructure. The app is undergoing testing and would be available on Apple Inc.'s (Nasdaq: AAPL) iOS platform and rival Android.
- Ackman's HerbaLife Bet Folds: Bill Ackman, the outspoken hedge-fund manager of Pershing Square Capital, has now lost 49% of his short position on HerbaLife Ltd (NYSE: HLF), according to The Wall Street Journal. Ackman famously bet against the firm, spurring a battle of the billionaires between himself and Carl Icahn, who had a long position in the company. During an investor dinner in early February, the company announced the Herbalife position was the biggest loser in the firm's 10-year history.
- Doubling Down: Despite becoming the scapegoat for the U.S. speed skating team's poor performance in Sochi, Under Armour Inc. (NYSE: UA) announced it will renew a team sponsorship agreement through 2022. The company will "double down" on investment in the controversial "Mach 39" suit until the 2018 Olympic Games, according to reports.
- Ukraine Defaults Likely: Though an agreement is likely on the table to quell the violence in Ukraine, Standard & Poor's is predicting that the nation is likely to default on its financial obligations. The ratings agency downgraded the country's long-term rating from 'CCC+' to 'CCC'. S&P noted that the planned $15 billion in Russian financial assistance set before July of 2014 is now in a stage of uncertainty, given the current political situation. This amount constitutes 8% of Ukraine's total GDP.
- Bad News on Discount Deals: Although Groupon Inc. (Nasdaq: GRPN) reported upbeat fourth-quarter results, shares plummeted in post-market hours by more than 14%. The company cited increased customer acquisition costs. Groupon lost $0.12 per share, equal to the same quarterly result from last year. Despite the bad news, CEO Eric Lefkofsky was positive on the company's momentum in holiday shopping sales and strong December mobile sales.
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U.S. Economic Calendar, Feb. 21, 2014
- Existing Home Sales at 10:00 a.m.
- St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard Speaks at 1:10 p.m.
- Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher Speaks at 1:45 p.m.
Key Companies Reporting Earnings, Feb. 21, 2014
- Consensus earnings per share for Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) is $0.41.
- Consensus earnings per share for Barnes Group (NYSE: B) is $0.52.
- Consensus earnings per share for Boise Cascade (NYSE: BCC) is $0.18.
- Consensus earnings per share for Ecolab (NYSE: ECL) is $1.05.
- Consensus earnings per share for Donaldson Company (NYSE: DCI) is $0.36.
- Consensus earnings per share for EchoStar (Nasdaq: SATS) is $0.09.
- Consensus earnings per share for Starz (Nasdaq: STRZA) is $0.45.
Others Reporting Earnings
- Teleflex (NYSE: TFX), Charter Communications (Nasdaq: CHTR), Geeknet (Nasdaq: GKNT), Pinnacle West Capital (NYSE: PNW), Ruth's Hospitality Group (Nasdaq: RUTH), Eldorado Gold (NYSE: EGO).
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