Jobless claims out this morning showed them unchanged at 351k. Expectations were for a modest rise. The 4-week average for claims fell by 7k to 359k. This represents the lowest level since March of 2008.
Asian stocks slipped negative overnight as they reacted to yesterday’s session in the US. European markets also reversed their earlier gains, after the EU released a report saying they expect a mild recession in 2012. It expects the EU growth rate to drop to -.3% versus a previously forecasted growth rate of .5%.
In commodities, oil continues its march higher. Nymex crude futures are currently trading up 40 cents to $106.68. Gold prices are also higher, up $9.50 to $1,781.
The dollar is edging lower this morning after yesterday’s gain. The DXY is currently at 78.95, down .35%.
Stocks to watch today include Kohl’s Corp. (NYSE:KSS), Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARNA), Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC), Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ), Vivus, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS), Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:OREX) and Polypore International, Inc. (NYSE:PPO).
Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE:KSS) is down 3.24% in pre market trading at $50.50. KSS shares are down today as fourth quarter profits fell 8%. Kohl’s reported profit of $1.81 a share, analysts were expecting $1.82 a share. The company is forecasting first quarter earnings of $0.60 a share, well below consensus of $0.88 a share. The company has a market cap of 13.23 billion.
Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARNA) is up 19.34% in pre market trading at $2.16. ARNA shares are rallying today due to Vivus’s fat loss drug being backed by a FDA advisory panel. Arena also is working on a fat loss drug. ARNA has traded 530 thousand shares already this morning and trades 3.4 million shares a day on average. The company has a market cap of 264.30 million.
Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) is up 0.75% in pre market trading at $8.01. BAC shares shares are looking to possibly bounce back today as the market is set to open slightly higher. Shares fell yesterday as the market traded lower. The company has a market cap of 83.76 billion.
Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) is down 3.25% in pre market trading at $28.00. HPQ shares are down today after first quarter profits fell 44% from the same period last year. Profits came in at $1.47 billion while revenue fell to $30 billion from $32.3 billion a year ago. The company has a market cap of 57.42 billion.
Vivus, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS) is up 105.31% in pre market trading at $21.59. VVUS shares are soaring today after a FDA advisory panel recommended its drug, Qnexa, for marketing approval. This recommendation doesn’t guarantee that the FDA will approve the drug, but in most cases the FDA follows the recommendation of its panels. VVUS has already traded its average volume in pre market with 2.3 million shares traded so far. The company has a market cap of 937.71 million.
Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:OREX) is up 22.43% in pre market trading at $3.93. OREX shares are rallying today thanks to Vivus’s rally on its news. OREX shares started the year trading below $1.80 and has since rallied more than 100%. The company has a market cap of 154.35 million.
Polypore International Inc. (NYSE:PPO) is down 11.42% in pre market trading at $38.80. PPO shares are slipping today after reporting fourth quarter results. Net income came in at $0.58 per share, just below analysts’ forecasts of $0.59 per share. The company has a market cap of 2.02 billion.