Stock futures are flat this morning as investors brace for the start of corporate earnings season. Alcoa is the first company up and is expected to post a small quarterly loss after the close today. Dow futures are currently up 2 points to 12,311. Nasdaq 100 futures are adding 5.75 points to 2,358. The S&P 500 is adding less than a point in pre-market trading at 1,274.90.
Last week the markets closed red despite a stronger than expected jobs report. The entire global market is still risk averse due to the lack of a united front to solve the sovereign debt crisis in Europe. Today, German PM Merkel and French President Sarkozy are expected to meet in advance of the January 30 EU summit. The goal here is to find common ground to finally address the systemic issues surrounding the health and viability of the EU. Italy and Spain plan bond auctions this week and will be a major test of overall market confidence. Sign Up For Our Free Weekly Newsletter
The markets in Europe are choppy this morning. The Stoxx 600 index is currently flat while European banking stocks are taking it on the chin again. A top decliner is Unicredit once again, as investors are still bearish over beliefs that the bank is not viable. The French CAC 40 Index is up 11 points, while the German DAX is shedding nearly 7. The UK’s FTSE is following the DAX lower, off nearly 9 points.
In Asian trading overnight markets were spurred by report that China may ease its monetary policies to spur growth in the regions. Shanghai and Hong Kong both jumped to sizable percentage gains. Regional markets such as the Australian S&P and the South Koran Kopsi suffered modest losses due the EU worries.
Healthcare stocks will definitely be in focus today after Bristol-Myers announced they were acquiring Inhibitex Inc. for a substantial premium. The $26 a share price represents a 163% premium over the closing price on January 6. Safe to say there are some happy traders this morning.
In commodities trading Nymex crude futures are retreating this morning. Currently they are down 22 cents to $101.56
Stocks to watch today include Inhibitex, Inc. (NASDAQ:INHX), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT), RAM Energy Resources, Inc. (NASDAQ:RAM), Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC), Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF).
Inhibitex, Inc. (NASDAQ:INHX) is up nearly 150% in pre market trading at $24.60. Over the weekend, Bristol-Myers announced it will acquire Inhibitex for $26.00 per share. The deal totals $2.5 billion and has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies. The company had a market cap Friday of 772.75 million.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is slightly in pre market trading at $424.30. AAPL has traded 16 thousand shares so far this morning and trades 11.04 million shares a day on average. AAPL shares have been trending upward since late December when they were trading at around $380 a share. CES gets started this week and a lot of Apple’s competitors will be unveiling their newest products to take on the tech giant. It’ll be interesting to see if any impress enough to threaten Apple or if rival tech companies are still in catch up mode. The company has a market cap of 392.58 billion.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is up 0.41% in pre market trading at $28.22. MSFT trades 51.74 million shares a day on average. MSFT shares are up nearly $2 a share over the past week. Microsoft will have their CES keynote conference later this evening. People should expect to see more from Windows 8 and their Windows phone. There have even been rumors Microsoft may unveil their next Xbox at CES. The company has a market cap of 236.42 billion.
RAM Energy Resources, Inc. (NASDAQ:RAM) is up 3.90% this morning at $2.93. RAM trades 2.17 million shares a day on average. RAM shares have lost about $0.50 a share since last Tuesday. The company has a market cap of 222.24 million.
Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) is up 0.65% in pre market trading at $6.22. BAC started the year off with a decent rally last week, moving from $5.50 to a high of $6.25. This rally will greatly depend on the overall market and how it reacts to any major news out of Europe. The company has a market cap of 62.64 billion.
Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) is up 4.07% this morning at $89.80. NFLX trades 7.06 million shares a day on average. NFLX shares have jumped about $15 since the new year. Netflix announced over the weekend they have launched their service in the UK and Ireland. The company has a market cap of 4.53 billion.
Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF) is up 3.17% in pre market trading today at $4.55. RF has traded 3.3 thousand shares so far today and trades 18.46 million shares a day on average. RF shares rose about $0.30 last Wednesday and Thursday before selling off a little bit on Friday. The company has a market cap of 5.55 billion.