We are just hours away from the Fed minutes. Their release at 2pm is likely to be the biggest market event of the week. So far it hasn't been a good week for stocks. The Dow dropped again yesterday. It's now down for five sessions in a row-- the longest losing streak this year. So, what can we hope to learn from minutes and of course, the T word on all investors minds, tapering. Yahoo! Finance Senior Columnist Mike Santoli has more in the video above.
A glitch at Goldman Sachs (GS) could cost the firm hundreds of millions of dollars. The firm executed a bunch of botched trades yesterday morning when an internal computer system sent out options orders at incorrect prices. The orders were placed on stocks and ETFs with ticker symbols starting with the letters H or I through K. The error pushed some options prices to just one dollar. Options officials are reviewing the trades and at least some are being canceled. Goldman released a statement saying "Neither the risk nor the potential loss is material to the financial condition of the firm."
More shoes may be about to drop as a result of the 2008 financial meltdown. Attorney General Eric Holder tells the Wall Street Journal he plans to announce new cases in the coming months. Holder declined to discuss specifics. But said he wouldn't let his own possible departure from the Justice Department affect prosecutions. There has been speculation Holder could step down before year's end.
It's the promise of a whole new world for Facebook (FB). The social network will announce plans today aimed at entering developing countries, through mobile devices. A preview of the plan is already posted on the site "internet-dot-org." CEO Mark Zuckerberg is spearheading the effort with a group of tech giants including Samsung, Nokia (NOK), and Qualcomm (QCOM). The plan is to drastically cut the cost of cell service outside the developed world so people can get internet access on smartphones. As for Facebook, which sees this as a chance to reach four billion more people, shares popped above their $38-dollar IPO price again yesterday.
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Home improvement giant Lowe's (LOW) just reported a healthy beat on earnings and is and now up nearly 5% in early trading. The chain reported earnings of 88-cents a share versus expectations of 79-cents. That's up from 64-cents a year ago. Sales also higher than estimates at $15.7 billion. Lowe's says it's drawing more business as homeowners get encouraged by the recovery in the housing market. It's a similar story to what we heard when rival Home Depot reported yesterday. As for Lowe's, it hit a new 52-week high a week ago Monday and is up 22% year-to-date.
Target (TGT) which is also out with its earnings. Pardon the cliche, but it hit the bullseye for the quarter. We're talking earnings of $1.19 a share, a quarter better than expected. Revenue also topped estimates though no by as wide a margin. This is one of the few retailers we've seen surpass estimates for the quarter. Competitors like Wal-Mart, Kohls, and yesterday JC Penney all disappointed. Target is up 16% overall in 2013. But it has been a rough month, down 7% ahead of this morning's report.
Staples (SPLS) is down nearly 10% after reporting earnings this morning. The office giant missed estimates, with profits of 16-cents, versus expectations of 18-cents. That would have been flat from last year. Sales were also slightly below expectations at $5.31-billion. The issue? Overseas. Staples pointed to weak business in Europe and Australia. Despite the pullback we've been seeing in the larger market, this stock hit its 52-week high last Tuesday and goes into today's session up 47% year-to-date.
Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) reports after the closing bell. The company is expected to post earnings of 86-cents a share down from $1 even a year ago. Revenue is likely to be down 8% to $27.29-billion. So far this stock is up 72% year-to-date, just shy of its 52-week high. CEO Meg Whitman is trying to maintain momentum as the company looks to rebuild with a focus on servers. A key stat to watch for in the report: PC market share. Dell reported an increase which means we might see a decline here.