Facebook Falters, but Markets Move Higher This Morning

After soaring at the open and rising more than 1.6% yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI) and S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) are pointing toward a more modest, but positive, open this morning. Comments yesterday that Mario Draghi and the European Central Bank were "ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro" were a boon for global markets, driving record-high Spanish bond yields sharply lower on hopes for a new bond buying program.

Facebook falters
As with Apple before it, trading in Facebook (NAS: FB) shares will garner plenty of attention this morning following the company's failure to address investor concerns with its first earnings release as a public company yesterday. The company met quarterly expectations, but that wasn't enough to change the common investor perception that Facebook's growth story is nothing more than folklore. Shares tumbled about 10% in aftermarket trading as Zuckerberg & Co. failed to provide guidance and offered no tangible evidence that growth would accelerate in the near future. Instead, management offered anecdotal evidence of its opportunities as users quickly migrate toward its mobile platform.

The primary economic data to watch today will be an advance reading on second-quarter GDP. As the broadest measure of U.S. economic activity, the report will offer a glimpse into the blended impact of dampened domestic consumer spending and slowing demand from overseas. Expectations are for growth of 1.5%, a deceleration from the 1.9% growth booked in the first quarter. The report comes ahead of Federal Reserve meetings next week, where policymakers will discuss both the need and the options for additional monetary easing amid a slowing economy.

Dow component Merck (NYS: MRK) reported results this morning, reiterating its full-year outlook and beating earnings expectations by $0.04, posting adjusted earnings per share of $1.05. Revenue at the pharmaceutical giant also beat estimates, coming in at $12.3 billion versus consensus estimates of $12.15 billion. Chevron (NYS: CVX) also reports earnings today, with revenue and EPS expected to fall to $68.6 billion and $3.24, respectively.

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