Dow May Rise as Children's Place Beats the Street


LONDON -- Stock index futures at 7 a.m. EDT indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average may open 0.16% higher this morning, while the S&P 500 may open up by 0.18%.

Markets began to stabilize in Europe this morning after slipping yesterday afternoon in the wake of Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem's comments that the Cypriot deal could be a template for future bailouts. He later stepped back from these comments, saying that Cyprus was a special case -- but it hasn't escaped investors' notice that Malta and Luxembourg are both similarly small countries with oversized financial sectors, just like Cyprus, while Spain and Greece also have problematic banking sectors.

By 7 a.m. EDT, most European markets were broadly unchanged, although in Greece, the Athens Stock Exchange was down by 4.2% following Dijsselbloem's comments, and Spanish and Italian banks also dropped. In London, the FTSE 100 was up 0.1%, with investment manager Aberdeen Asset Management continuing yesterday's strong run, up 3.9% at 7:35 a.m. EDT, while Kazakhstan miner Eurasian Natural Resources Corp was down 3.7%, after one of its largest shareholders, copper miner Kazakhmys, reported that it had halved the book value of its 26% stake in ENRC, reducing it to $2 billion.

In the U.S., investors will be watching today's economic reports closely. First up, at 8:30 a.m. EDT, durable-goods orders are expected to have risen by 4.6% following a 4.9% fall in January. At 9 a.m. EDT, January's Case-Shiller home price index will provide further information on the strength of the housing-market recovery, while at 10 a.m. EDT February's new-home sales are expected to show that 417,000 new homes were sold last month, down slightly from 437,000 in January.

Companies reporting earnings before the markets open this morning include Children's Place, which reported fourth-quarter earnings of $1.15 per share, ahead of consensus estimates of $1.04 per share. However, the firm revised its first-quarter and full-year guidance, suggesting it could fall below consensus expectations. Also due to report is food-testing specialist Neogen, which is expected to report earnings of $0.27 per share and says it has seen a surge in demand for its beef-testing kits following recent scandals involving the use of horse meat in beef products.

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