US markets look set to open lower today after a divergence saw the Dow close higher but the S&P and Nasdaq lower yesterday after improving weekly employment data but a poor earnings outlook from Tesla and Priceline.com. With limited US economic data and company earnings from Ralph Lauren we may see another Friday of profit-taking ahead of the Ukrainian referendums at the weekend. Futures suggest the S&P500 will open 2 points lower at 1,873 with the Dow Jones expected to open 20 points lower at 16,530. Yesterday Fed Chair Yellen in her testimony to the Senate Budget Committee said no decision had been made on what to do with the Fed’s $4.5tn portfolio of assets. Really there’s only two things they can do, sell or hold them until maturity. The Bank of England has implied it will hold onto its £375bn but this maybe a trickier task for the Fed because the larger quantity of assets means a bigger impact on the money supply and thus future inflation. Apple maybe in play today after the announcement of a possible acquisition of headphone-maker Beats. The move would see Apple gain from a prominent high-end headphone to sell alongside iPods as well as Beat’s recently set-up music streaming service to compliment Apple’s iTunes music downloads. At $3.2bn it would be Apple’s largest purchase to date is another departure under the reign of new CEO Tim Cook. Time will tell if this proves to be a smart move into wearable products or an admission of failure on the part of Apple’s own product-innovators. Omnicom will also be one to watch today after the collapse of its proposed merger with Publicis after talks had been ongoing without much progress. It seems the two CEOs couldn’t agree over the split of power and duties in the newly formed company of equals. Ralph Lauren is expected to report quarterly earnings of $1.63 per share on revenue of $1.83 billion. Gross profit margin will be an important metric to monitor RL’s super-brand pricing power. As with most retailers, the company’s push into online will be key, online sales jumped by a third year-over-year and that needs to continue.
US markets to open lower as major indices diverge
11:00, 09 May 2014