Earnings & guidance misses, oil sands production and metal prices in focus

Stocks around the world have been trading lower overnight, quickly giving back much of yesterday’s gains following Disney’s earnings miss and weak guidance from Toyota and Electronic Arts. US index futures for the Dow and S&P are down about 0.2% so far along with the FTSE while in Europe, the Dax is down 0.7%. Australian stocks, which have a similar composition to Canada, dominated by resource companies and banks, finished up 0.5%.

Earnings and guidance have dominated the headlines overnight, led by Walt Disney which missed on both sales and earnings. Although Star Wars and Zootopia powered the studio division to higher than expected sales and profits, they were offset by misses at the cable and parks divisions. Disney shares traded down about 5% in the aftermarket. After Disney missed last August, the shares gapped down about 5% the next morning and finished that day down about 9-10%.    

The game of “Blame Forex!” for earnings misses has shifted from the US to japan. This quarter, the number of complaints from US companies about the higher dollar started to fade as USD started to retreat. Last night after posting a third straight year of record profits, Toyota announced it expects earnings for the coming year to fall 35% due to the big Yen rally of recent months. This underscores the dependence of many major Japanese companies on exports and explains why the Nikkei and JPY often trade in opposite directions.

Macy’s has kicked off earnings season for US retailers with very mixed news that. Earnings beat the street but sales missed expectations. Looking forward a big cut to guidance was partly offset by a dividend increase. Confusion often breeds contempt in trading to we could see choppiness in retailers today with the potential for a selloff depending on how additional results shake out.

There were a number of other reports overnight which could rock the markets today. Canadian Solar posted very strong earnings and guidance above street. Sun Life missed on earnings but raised its dividend. Electronic Arts beat the street for this quarter but guided next quarter below street.  A court blocked the proposed merger between office supply retailers Staples and Office Depot which would see merger related trades unravel today.

Crude oil continues to climb today, building on yesterday’s gains but at a slower pace. Brent continues to outperform WTI to the upside amid Libya supply disruptions. With the Alberta wildfires moving away from Fort McMurray and oil sands operations, focus has turned from heroic firefighting efforts to restarts and reconstruction.  Royal Dutch Shell reportedly restarted it Albian facility yesterday which it could take between a couple of days and several weeks for other operations to get back up and running. Oil has shrugged off an increase in US API inventories overnight but could be active around today’ DOE reports.

Metal prices have been trading higher overnight with both copper and gold gaining ground. This could support interest mining stocks and resource currencies today. NZD has been playing catch up overnight after underperforming yesterday which CAD also has bounced back a bit. USD easing back a bit has helped JPY and EUR to rebound slightly while GBP is holding steady.


Corporate News

Staples    proposed merger with Office Depot called off after being blocked in court

Walt Disney    $1.36 vs street $1.39, sales $12.97B below street $13.20B. Better than expected sales from the movie and broadcasting operations offset by misses in cable and parks.

Macy’s    $0.40 vs street $0.36, sales $5.77B vs street $5.93B, cuts current year guidance to $3.15-$3.40 from $3.80-$3.90, 4.2% dividend increase, announced improvement plans

Electronic Arts    $0.50 vs street $0.42, sales $924M vs street $888M, guides next Q EPS to ($0.05) below street $0.19, guides next Q sales $620M below street $738M

Canadian Solar    $0.39 vs street $0.13 (wow!) sales $721M vs street $662M, guides next Q sales to $710-$760M vs street $700M, CFO resigned

Sun Life    $0.87 vs street $0.90, 3.8% dividend increase


Economic News

Significant announcements released overnight include:

UK industrial production            (0.2%) vs street (0.4%)
UK manufacturing production        (1.9%) as expected


Announcements due later today include:

8:45 am EDT        Bank of Canada Wilkins speaking

10:30 am EDT        US DOE crude oil inventories        street 0.75 mmbbls
10:30 am EDT        US DOE gasoline inventories        street (0.5 mmbbls)