Stock Futures Regain Positive Footing, Stocks to Watch

Stock FuturesThe three major indices are edging higher this morning as investors wait for the release of the durable goods numbers. Investors also continue to digest Bernanke’s speech from earlier in the week in which he left the door wide open for future stimulus. Dow futures are currently up 25 points to 13,149. Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500 futures are adding 5 and 2 points respectively.

Durable goods orders came in with an increase of 2.2% for February. Expectations were for a 2.9% increase, but this is the 4th increase in 5 months.

Bernanke’s speech on Monday warned on labor markets. He cited weak demand as evidence of his belief that labor gains may not be sustainable. The Fed’s remedy to this would be further stimulus through monetary easing policies, or QE3.

Some analysts say that as we near the end of the quarter the trading can become erratic as major firms put window dressing on their portfolios. They want to be able to say they are holding the best performing stocks.

Commodities continue to be volatile this morning. Nymex crude futures are down $1.2 per barrel to $106.11. Gold futures are following suit, with gold prices down over $11 to $1,673.70. [Read more...]

Afternoon Movers: DNDN, ZOLT, OREX, CYOU, CPY, ALU

Stocks are still down in midday as investors worry about Greece’s debt deal. Greece has been trying to complete a deal for weeks now. Right now the Dow is down 35 points, the Nasdaq is down 3 points and the S&P is down 2 points.

Dendreon Corporation (NASDAQ:DNDN) is up 14.82% today at $16.27. DNDN has traded 20.8 million shares so far today and trades 8.5 million shares a day on average. DNDN shares are seeing a spike today after federal health regulators published a critical review for Amgen’s prostate cancer drug. The company has a market cap of 2.43 billion.

Zoltek Companies, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZOLT) is up 11.75% this afternoon at $14.65. ZOLT has traded 2.2 million shares today, 7 times its daily average. ZOLT shares continue to go higher following strong fiscal first quarter results. ZOLT shares are up more than $4 a share since Friday. The company has a market cap of 503.83 million.

Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:OREX) is up 16.30% today at $3.21. OREX has traded 1.3 million shares in afternoon trading, more than double its daily average. OREX shares are up today after the company announced agreement from the FDA on a special protocol assessment for the Contrave outcomes trial. The company has a market cap of 154.11 million. Limited (NASDAQ:CYOU) is down 11.90% this afternoon at $25.63. CYOU has traded 1.5 million shares so far today, up from 273 thousand shares it typically trades. Guidance from the company’s earnings results this morning did not please investors. Next quarter’s profit is forecasted to be below the $1.13 analysts have been estimating. The company has a market cap of 1.35 billion.

CPI Corporation (NYSE:CPY) is down 10.69% today at $1.42. CPY has traded double its average volume so far today with 951 thousand shares traded. CPY shares are down today after the company announced on Friday that it will trade on the OTC market starting on February 9. The company has a market cap of 9.99 million.

Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU) is down 2.56% today at $1.90. ALU has traded 11.1 million shares so far and trades 18.2 million shares on average. ALU shares are pulling back slightly today after jumping more than $0.20 last week. The company has a market cap of 4.31 billion.

Midday Market Update. Stocks to Watch: ZOLT, CTCT, SIMG, IDIX, ENTR, VRTX

Stocks are holding their gains in midday trading today. A surprisingly good jobs report came out early this morning and the major indices up over 1%. The unemployment rate dropped a little bit more in January to 8.3%. The Dow hit its highest level in 3 years today, up 153 points to 12,859. The Nasdaq and the S&P are also up today, up 47 points and 18 points respectively. The jobs report has overshadowed news out of Europe that Greece may need an additional $20 billion in its bailout.

Zoltek Companies, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZOLT) is up 38.33% in midday trading at $13.10. ZOLT has traded 3.2 million shares so far today, way above its daily average of 263 thousand shares. ZOLT is up today following a strong first quarter from the company. Zoltek posted a profit of $0.28 per share, up from a loss of $0.05 per share a year ago. Net sales for the company rose 43% to $47 million. The company has a market cap of 448.50 million.

Constant Contact, inc. (NASDAQ:CTCT) is up 22.31% in midday trading at $31.85. CTCT has traded 2.2 million shares already today, 4 times its daily average. Constant Contact rose today after posting a fourth quarter profit of $0.27 a share, beating analyst estimate of $0.24 a share. The company has a market cap of 950.19 million.

Silicon Image, Inc. (NASDAQ:SIMG) is up 18.04% today at $6.03. SIMG has traded 3.8 million shares so far today, 4 times its daily average. SIMG shares are up today after the company beat estimates by $0.03 and beat on revenue. Forecast for the first quarter is in line with estimates. The company has a market cap of 490.39 million.

Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:IDIX) is down 13.12% in midday trading at $11.52. IDIX has traded 7 million shares today, more than 3 times its daily average volume. Idenix announced this morning the removal of the partial clinical hold on HCV Nucleotide Inhibitor, IDX 184. One of the company’s biggest rivals, Gilead Sciences, released positive data for its Hepatitis C drug today. The company has a market cap of 1.12 billion.

Entropic Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENTR) is down 6% today at $6.58. ENTR has traded 2.5 million shares at midday, double its daily average. ENTR shares are down some today after the stock rallied yesterday on good quarterly results. The company has a market cap of 575.45 million.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:VRTX) is down 4.91% today at $36.49. VRTX has traded 5.7 million shares so far today, 2 million more than its daily average. VRTX was downgraded to neutral from outperform earlier today at Cowen. The company has a market cap of 7.61 billion.

U.S. Stock Futures Flat After Soaring Rally. Stocks to Watch: AAPL, GES, KKD, ZOLT, PEIX, BAC, NFLX

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 3 points to 12,031 and those on the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index fell 3 points to 1,243. Nasdaq 100 futures were marginally higher at 2,296. Investors seem to be holding the line after a huge rally on Wednesday. The big news today seems to be the weak economic data coming in from China, coupled with a bond sell-off by Spain and France.

Two separate reports on China’s manufacturing sector show contraction for the month of November. The Spanish government successfully sold 3.75 billion euros ($5 billion) of bonds, while France saw its borrowing costs slip at an auction of 10-year bonds.

The blue-chip Dow index surged 490 points, or 4.2%, on Wednesday, posting its biggest point and percentage gains since March 23, 2009. The rally was triggered by news that global central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, were taking coordinated action to reduce the cost of dollar financing. The measures aim to ease monetary funding strains, faced by European banks, and to prevent the euro-zone sovereign debt crisis from creating a global liquidity crunch.

Later today, the market will focus on the Labor Department’s latest report on the jobs market, with the release at 8:30 a.m. EST of weekly jobless claims. Economists forecast a total of 390,000 new filings, compared with 393,000 in the prior week.

The Institute for Supply Management releases its November manufacturing index at 10 a.m. EST. Economists expect a reading of 51.5 versus 50.8 in October.

The Commerce Department reports on October construction spending at 10 a.m. Economists forecast an increase of 0.3 percent, compared with a 0.2 percent rise in September.

Stocks to watch today include Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Guess?, Inc. (NYSE:GES), Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (NYSE:KKD), Zoltek Companies, Inc., (NASDAQ:ZOLT), Pacific Ethanol Inc. (NASDAQ:PEIX), Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) and Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX)

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is up slightly in pre-market trading at $382.26. AAPL trades 16.47 million shares a day on average. Over the past five trading sessions, Apple stock has risen about $5 a share. Apple Inc. has a current market cap of 355.22 billion.

Guess?, Inc. (NYSE:GES) is up a little bit in pre-market trading at $28.15. Guess released earnings late yesterday and fell short of analysts expectations. GES reported EPS of $0.71 with analysts expecting EPS of $0.73. Fourth quarter guidance was also lower then consensus. GES trades 1.5 million shares a day on average. The company has a current market cap of 2.61 billion.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (NYSE:KKD) is down 4.26% in pre-market trading at $7.20. KKD slightly raised guidance for FY 2012 and 2013. KKD trades nearly 600 thousand shares a day on average. Krispy Kreme has a current market cap of 510.85 million.

Zoltek Companies, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZOLT) closed at $8.21 yesterday and rose more than $2 yesterday. ZOLT trades around 220 thousand shares a day on average. The company has a current market value of 282.16 million.

Pacific Ethanol Inc. (NASDAQ:PEIX) is up 6.67% in pre-market trading today at $1.12. PEIX trades 14.09 million shares a day on average. Over the past three trading sessions, PEIX has fallen from $1.40 to $1.05. Pacific Ethanol has a current market cap of 80.96 million.

Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) is down nearly 1% in pre-market trading at $5.39. BAC has traded over a million shares already today and trades 268.57 million shares a day on average. BAC rose yesterday following the coordinated central bank action to lower borrowing rates. Bank of America has a current market cap of 55.14 billion.

Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) is up slightly in pre-market trading at $64.53. NFLX trades 9.23 million shares a day on average. Over the past two trading sessions, Netflix shares have fallen more than $4 a share. This comes as analysts downgrade the stock and call their business model ‘broken’. Netflix has a current market cap of 3.39 billion.

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