Pre-Market Snapshot: Bulls Look To Open Things Up

by: SA Editors
SA Editors
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Wall St. Breakfast's Pre-Market Snapshot:

U.S. Futures As of 8:40 AM ET

S&P 500: +10.50; 1,460.75
NASDAQ 100: +11.00; 1,930.75
Dow: +77.00; 13,194.00

International Indexes

NIKKEI 225: -0.00%; 15,900.64 (-0.70)
HANG SENG: +2.84%; 22,346.88 (+617.53)
SHANGHAI SE COMPOSITE: +0.50%; 4,980.08 (+24.87)
BSE SENSEX 30: +1.86%; 14,248.66 (+259.55)

FTSE 100: +1.16%; 6,156.40 (+70.30)
CAC 40: +1.30%; 5,489.03 (+70.25)
XETRA-DAX: +0.96%; 7,495.75 (+71.00)

Commodity Futures (Reuters/Jefferies CRB)

Oil: +0.34%; $69.81 (+$0.24)
Gold: +0.27%; $668.00 (+$1.80)
Natural Gas: -0.52%; $5.79 (-$0.03)
Silver: +1.71%; $11.87 (+$0.20)

U.S. Breaking Newssee today's Wall Street Breakfast for earlier news

Apple to Share in Europe iPhone Revenues -- FT

Apple Inc. has agreed to deals with three European telecom companies, giving each company exclusive rights to sell the iPhone in its market, the Financial Times reported. The contracts with T-Mobile Germany, Orange of France, and O2 of the UK all require that Apple receive at least AAPL 22 08 2007 Chart10% of the revenue created from using the phone. FT reported it is rare for a manufacturer to secure a stake in sales received from phone calls and data exchange, a trend that has been resisted in the past by European telecom companies. The only previous instance is Research in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, who also shares in carriers' revenues. "These are not negotiations among equals. Apple clearly had the upper hand," said an industry expert. Apple plans to launch the phone in only France, UK, and Germany this fall, and will increase its presence in Europe next year when it also begins selling phones in Asia. On June 28, Dutch magazine Bright reported that Apple and Vodafone were in talks to bring the iPhone to Europe, but said an agreement hinges on volume guarantees and subsidies (full summary).
Sources: Financial Times
Commentary: Apple's Playing The EuroOperators For FoolsApple, Vodafone Reportedly in Negotiations to Launch iPhone in Europe
Stocks/ETFs to watch: AAPL, RIMM, T. Competitors: VOD, NOK, PALM, MOT

Toll Brothers Q3 Net Drops 85%, But Beats Estimates; To Cut Production

Toll Brothers reported an 85% drop in Q3 net income to $26.5 million, or $0.16/share, on a 21% decline in revenues to $1.21B. Analysts were expecting -$0.02/share on sales of $1.15B, on average. TOL-EarningsChart-8-22-2007 Toll wrote down $147.3M for land, developments and options. Excluding the write downs, Toll earned $0.70/share. Toll said signed contracts totaled $727M, a 31% y/y decline. Cancellations increased 4.9% y/y to 23.8%, a "quite elevated" level, but at the low end range compared to competitors, according to CEO Robert Toll. In a press release, CEO Toll said, "We believe that our buyers generally should be able to continue to secure mortgages, due to their typically lower loan-to-value ratios and attractive credit profiles." Toll commented further that "Once equilibrium is achieved, we believe home prices will firm and customers, who are waiting on the sidelines, will have the confidence to enter the market." The company is curtailing building to 305 communities by the end of this quarter (vs. 325 in May). Shares of Toll were last up 5.2% to $22.20 in thin pre-market trading, after falling 4.2% to $21.09 on Tuesday.
Sources: Press release, Bloomberg, MarketWatch
Commentary: Bank of America Downgrades Three Homebuilders: A Look At Past CallsToll Bros. Forecasts Another Brutal QuarterHousing Bubble and Real Estate Market Tracker
Stocks/ETFs to watch: TOL. Competitors: DHI, CTX, PHM. ETFs: XHB
Conference call transcripts: Toll Brothers F3Q07 Preliminary Earnings Call Transcript

Tech Data Posts Solid Earnings Beat on Strong International Sales

Shares of number-two computer product distributor Tech Data jumped over 9% in pre-market trading after the company said it swung to a Q2 net profit of $7.2 million ($0.13/share), having lost $155.5 million ($2.81/share) a year ago. Net of charges, EPS of $0.50 ($27.5 million), up from TECD 22 08 2007 EarningsChart$300,000 ($0.01/share), were well ahead of Street estimates. Revenue climbed 14% to $5.61 billion from $4.94 billion. On average, analysts were looking for EPS of $0.30 cents on revenue of $5.3 billion. For Q3, the company expects revenue of $5.75 billion to $5.9 billion; analysts had been forecasting $5.67 billion. Its strong growth, the company said, was fueled by international sales, particularly in the Americas. "We delivered a significant year-over-year turnaround in our operating results in the European region... Tech Data is in a solid position to further leverage our strength in execution to improve our performance in the second half of this fiscal year," CEO Robert M. Dutkowsky said. In a pre-earnings note, Morningstar said "Tech Data's operations have been punished by a slow recovery in IT demand, but management's actions give us reason to watch this story play out. Because of tremendous economies of scale, Tech Data has a considerable competitive advantage over smaller rivals, and slim industry margins deter potential market entrants. As IT demand continues to remain healthy, Tech Data should see returns improve, as long as management can get its house in order."
Sources: Press release, MarketWatch, Reuters
Commentary: Tech Data Offering Macs Preloaded With Windows
Stocks/ETFs to watch: TECD. Competitors: IM, SNX. ETFs: JKL

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Today's Market (via Sam Collins,

Recap of Yesterday's Action
With few quarterly earnings from key companies and no economic reports, yesterday was ideal for investors to focus on the credit situation. Stocks opened mixed and traded that way for the first two hours before a supporting comment from Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, set a more positive tone by assuring that the Fed would step in when necessary.

But Richmond Federal Reserve Bank President Jeffery Lacker poured cold water on the notion that the Fed should cut rates, and the market took back a portion of the earlier gain. Shortly thereafter, however, stocks recovered when someone remembered Mr. Lacker is not a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) this year.

Target (NYSE:TGT) rose by almost 2% after the discount retailer reported earnings that matched forecasts, but the firm went on to say that it would be "more conservative than our planning assumptions at the early part of the year." Saks Inc. (NYSE:SKS) fell 6.2% after it said that it "narrowed" Q2 losses to 17 cents a share from 15 cents a year ago. Most sectors rose just a bit, with the energy stocks as the only exception, due to falling oil prices -- the result of Hurricane Dean's diversion to miss the important drilling platforms and refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.

At the close, the Dow Industrials were down 30 points at 13,091. The S&P 500 gained two at 1,447, and the Nasdaq rose by 13 to close at 2,521. Volume on the Big Board totaled 1.3 billion shares and 1.7 billion shares traded on the Nasdaq. Breadth was a positive 5/3 on the NYSE and ahead fractionally on the Nasdaq.

The September contract of crude oil closed at $69.47 a barrel, off $1.65 -- the first time in two months that crude has traded below $70 a barrel. The Amex Energy SPDR (NYSEARCA:XLE) fell by $1.15 closing at $66.37 and ending the day just below the critical 100-day moving average at $67. Gold (December contract) fell 30 cents to $666.20 per troy ounce but the Philadelphia Gold/Silver Index [XAU] was up 92 cents at $132.88, closing for the second day above support at $130.

What the Markets Are Saying
This week has been a reprieve thus far from the gut-wrenching volatility of the last two weeks. Yesterday provided a very positive tone by scoring advances on all of the broader-based indexes (the S&P 500, the Nasdaq and the NYSE Composite).

According to independent investment advisory firm Dorsey Wright & Associates, the financial sector is making a comeback after being the worst performer for weeks. It is the only one of 10 broader economic sectors that is in a column of X's on its bullish percent chart (point and figure charts). But nevertheless that is very good news for the market in general since the financial sector plays such an important role in most of the broader-based indexes.

Sentiment is still bearish (good) and the market's internal indicators remain in an oversold status. We may not be totally out of the woods yet, but it appears that we are getting there.

Today's Trading Landscape
Today look for earnings from Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF), American Woodmark (NASDAQ:AMWD), Eaton Vance (NYSE:EV), Foot Locker (NYSE:FL), Frontline (NYSE:FTO), Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU), JDS Uniphase Corp. (JDSU), Limited Brands (LTD), Men's Warehouse (MW), Phillips-Van Heusen (NYSE:PVH), Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST), Synopsys (NASDAQ:SNPS), Talbots (NYSE:TLB), Tech Data (NASDAQ:TECD) (read above) and WCI Communities (WCI).

Weekly crude oil inventories will be reported at 10:30 a.m. Eastern. If the market can weather earnings reports today from several key builders and a large number of retailers the recovery may get some legs. M&A is back in the news this morning with TD Ameritrade (NASDAQ:AMTD) and E*Trade (NASDAQ:ETFC) are reported to be in merger talks, and NYMEX Holdings (NMX) said it has held talks with suitors -- NYSE Euronext (NYSE:NYX) is rumored to be one of them.

Earnings were reported from BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP), which beat estimates, and even though Toll Bros (NYSE:TOL) reported an 85% drop in FY Q3 figures, it still beat analysts' estimates (read above). Futures look brighter this morning, literally and figuratively.

Asian Headlines (via

Asian Stocks Gain for Third Day on U.S. Interest Rate Outlook; Posco Rises Asian stocks gained for a third day on speculation the U.S. Federal Reserve will lower interest rates to alleviate a credit crisis and sustain growth in the world's biggest economy.

Japan's Trade Surplus Narrows as Auto Exports Slump, Demand in U.S. Wanes Japan's trade surplus narrowed more than economists forecast as automobile exports cooled, heightening concern that growth in the world's second-largest economy may slow.

Yen Falls on Speculation Bank of Japan Will Keep Interest Rates on Hold The yen fell against all major currencies on speculation the Bank of Japan will refrain from raising interest rates because of a global credit-market crisis.

Citic Pacific Profit Jumps 44 Percent on Steel, Sale of Phone-Unit Stake Citic Pacific Ltd. (OTCPK:CTPCY), the Hong Kong arm of China's biggest state-owned investing company, said first-half profit surged 44 percent on steel production and the sale of a stake in a phone-services unit.

European Headlines (via

European, Asian Stocks, U.S. Futures Rise; Societe Generale, BHP Advance European and Asian stocks gained and U.S. index futures climbed on speculation the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates to ease a credit crunch and sustain economic growth.

HSBC, ING, Lloyds TSB Say Short-Term Debt Units Don't Need Direct Funding HSBC Holdings Plc (HBC), ING Groep NV (NYSE:ING) and Lloyds TSB Group Plc (NYSE:LYG) said they don't need to provide finance for units with short-term debt, after rivals including HBOS Plc (OTC:HBOOY) stepped in when inter-bank lending rates rose to a six-year high.

Solent, Avendis Fund Ratings Cut to Junk by S&P After `Erosion of Capital' Standard & Poor's slashed the ratings on debt sold by two European mortgage-backed securities funds to junk from the highest investment grade after investors refused to provide short-term funding.

BHP Billiton Says Global Credit Crunch Won't Reduce Demand for Commodities BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), the world's biggest mining company, said customers don't expect a global credit crunch to have a ``material impact'' on demand for raw materials.

Telekom Austria Profit Falls Less Than Analysts Anticipated; Stock Rises Telekom Austria AG, the largest Austrian phone company, reported a smaller-than-anticipated decline in second-quarter profit on Internet subscriber additions and the acquisition of eTel. The stock rose.