Pre-market Trading Report: What's Hot in the Stock Market Today

Today's pre-market trading report, Feb. 20, 2014: The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 89 points on Wednesday to 16,040.56. The Nasdaq dropped by 0.8% to 4,237.95 while the S&P slipped 0.6% to 1,828.75.

Five Biggest Stories in the Stock Market Today, Feb. 18, 2014

  • A Major Social Acquisition: On Tuesday, Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) made its largest acquisition in company history when it purchased WhatsApp, a mobile peer-to-peer chat service for $16 billion in stock and cash. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the deal came together in just 10 days. WhatsApp has 450 million monthly active users, and 70% of its audience uses the service every day. The service has twice the number of active users of Twitter Inc. (Nasdaq: TWTR) and is currently generating revenue. Shares of Facebook are down in pre-market trading.
  • Tesla Beats the Market Again: Shares of Tesla surged more than 12% in post-hours trading Wednesday after the electric car producer announced it had beaten street estimates for the fourth quarter. The company set a new quarterly sales record, reporting it sold and delivered 6,892 Model S vehicles. Demand in China is surging for the luxury vehicles, and Tesla's CEO Elon Musk has already admitted the manufacturer will likely not be able to meet demand for the Model S in 2014. Get the full Tesla earnings report here.
  • The Japanese Woes Continue: Japan's trade deficit in January hit a monthly record of 2.8 trillion yen ($27.4 billion) as imports spiked by 25%. The nation is reeling from a weakened currency over the last 12 months and it struggles to boost exports. Meanwhile, domestic imports of oil, gas, food, and other consumer goods surged. Economists believe that consumers and businesses are increasing purchases ahead of a sales tax hike in April.
  • The Winter Woes Continue: Blame it on the weather... Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) disappointed on fourth-quarter earnings this morning by missing street per-share estimates of $1.59. The company posted earnings per share of $1.34, a steep decline from $1.67 per share in the same quarter last year. The company blamed poor revenue in January, citing recent winter weather problems and government cuts to the food stamp program. Shares of Wal-Mart are down by more than 1% in pre-market trading. This is just one reason not to buy WMT stock - get the full analysis here.
  • A Partnership on the Rocks: John Chen, CEO of BlackBerry Ltd. (Nasdaq: BBRY), sounded off yesterday over a recent T-Mobile US Inc. (NYSE: PCS) email promotion dubbed a "great offer for BlackBerry customers." Though the companies have a rich history together, T-Mobile failed to consult with Chen's marketing team over an ad last week that urged Blackberry users to convert to the iPhone 5S for "no money down." Chen took to a blog yesterday to express that he is "outraged" at T-Mobile's actions.

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U.S. Economic Calendar, Feb. 20, 2014

  • Consumer Price Index at 8:30 a.m.
  • Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m.
  • PMI Manufacturing Index Flash at 9 a.m.
  • Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index at 9:45 a.m.
  • Philadelphia Fed Survey at 10 a.m.
  • Leading Indicators at 10 a.m.
  • EIA Natural Gas Report at 10:30 a.m.
  • EIA Petroleum Status Report at 11 a.m.
  • 3-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
  • 6-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
  • 2-Yr FRN Announcement at 11 a.m.
  • 2-Yr Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
  • 5-Yr Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
  • 7-Yr Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
  • 30-Yr TIPS Auction at 1 p.m.
  • Fed Balance Sheet at 4:30 p.m.
  • Money Supply at 4:30 p.m.

Key Companies Reporting Earnings, Feb. 20, 2014

  • Consensus earnings per share for DIRECTV (Nasdaq: DTV) is $1.28.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Inc. (NASDAQ: PCLN) is $8.29.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Federal-Mogul (Nasdaq: FDML) is $0.21
  • Consensus earnings per share for Hormel Foods Corp. (NYSE: HRL) is $0.57.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN) is $1.34.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) is $0.84.
  • Consensus earnings per share for Groupon Inc. (Nasdaq: GRPN) is $0.02.

Others Reporting Earnings

  • World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: WWE), WebMD Health Corp. (Nasdaq: WBMD), FTI Consulting Inc. (NYSE: FCN), CVR Energy Inc. (NYSE: CVI), Cheniere Energy Inc. (NYSEMKT: LNG)

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About the Author

Garrett Baldwin is a globally recognized research economist, financial writer, consultant, and political risk analyst with decades of trading experience and degrees in economics, cybersecurity, and business from Johns Hopkins, Purdue, Indiana University, and Northwestern.

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