02 December 2010

Stock Futures Lower Ahead of Jobs. Stocks to Watch: AAPL, BAC, CVX, CROX, JPM, KFT, PGH, SBUX

Stock Futures Lower Ahead of Jobs. Stocks to Watch: AAPL, BAC, CVX, CROX, JPM, KFT, PGH, SBUX : Stock futures pointed to a slightly negative open ahead of the Labor Department’s employment report after the market rallying to 2-year highs. Investors are being cautious ahead of the latest monthly employment report, due at 8:30 am. Economists expect that nonfarm payrolls rose by 60,000 in October, the first gain in five months. The unemployment rate is expected to remain at 9.6%.

September pending home sales comes out at 10 am and a consumer credit report for September will be released at 3 pm. Today’s stocks to watch: Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Chevron (NYSE:CVX), Crocs (NASDAQ:CROX), JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), Kraft (NYSE:KFT), Pengrowth Energy (NYSE:PGH), and Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX).

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), the maker of iPads and iPhones, fell 0.57% to $316.45 in pre-market trading. In yesterday’s session the stock was able to post a new all-time high at $320.18, but was unable to close above $319, which was acting as resistance. Since Apple could not confirm the breakout from resistance at $319, price action will place shares in their trading range defined by support at $300 and resistance at $319. A close above the $319 level, will spur momentum traders back into the stock, which along with expectations for a strong holiday shopping season would be the catalysts to take the Apple to new record highs.

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), the largest U.S. lender, surged more than 5% yesterday on news that the Fed will allow healthy banks to boost their dividend payments. The stock was able to push thru its resistance at $11.72. This morning, Bank of America fell 0.49% to $12.07, ahead of the October’s employment report. The Charlotte based bank has the biggest exposure to the U.S. consumer, so it will see an increased volatility in today’s session depending on the overall market reaction to the Labor Department’s report.

Chevron (NYSE:CVX), the second U.S. energy producer, will likely see a bullish bias in the session, as crude oil traded earlier this morning at the highest level since October 2008, as the Dollar continued to slump. Crude oil reversed but still was trading higher above $86 per barrel and heading for a weekly rally of more than 6%. Chevron is facing resistance at the $84.50 level.

Crocs (NASDAQ:CROX), the maker of footwear that utilize its proprietary closed cell-resin, called Croslite, fell more than 5% in pre-market trading after posting earnings that beat the average analyst estimate. Crocs posted a profit of $0.28 per share, $0.04 better than consensus; revenues surged 30.1% year over year to $215.6 million, also above consensus. But investors were disappointed as the amount of the beat was the smallest of the year, sparking concern of an EPS growth slowdown.

JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), the second largest U.S. lender, surged more than 5% on news that the Fed will allow healthy banks to boost their dividend payments. JPMorgan fell 0.5% to $39.60 in pre-market trading ahead of the employment report and after FBR Capital said that the shares could be particularly strong, given their strong capital levels and the company's stated desire to increase dividend payments. JPMorgan has calculated resistance at $40.72 and support at $36.21.

Kraft (NYSE:KFT), the maker of Velveeta cheese and Oreo cookies, fell more than 2% in pre-market trading after beating earnings analysts estimates by $0.01 per share, but missing on revenues. It also said that Starbuck had requested to end their consumer packages goods distribution arrangement, but that they view the agreement as perpetual setting up for a dispute with the world’s largest coffe shop chain.

Pengrowth Energy (NYSE:PGH), the oil and natural gas trust, was downgraded to a Hold from Buy at Canaccord Genuity.

Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ:SBUX), the largest coffee shop chain in the world, posted an upside earnings surprise. The company said it earned a profit of $0.37 per share, $0.05 better than consensus; revenues jumped 17.2% year over year to $2.84 billion, above consensus. Comparable store sales increased 8% above consensus, driven by a 5% increase in traffic and a 2% increase in average ticket.

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