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#PreMarket Primer: Wednesday, December 17: Sony Pictures Hackers Threaten Violence

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#PreMarket Primer: Wednesday, December 17: Sony Pictures Hackers Threaten Violence

Sony's (NYSE: SNE) latest movie “The Interview” is said to be the reason for the recent hacking attack against the company, but a new threat of violence claiming to be from the same group has many worried about the movie's December 25 premier. The threat asked that the public “remember the 11th of September 2001” and goes on to say people should “keep their distance” from theaters that show the film. Though North Korea has denied allegations that the hacking attack was at all related to the nation’s government, U.S. intelligence officials say they’ve found a link between the cybersecurity breach and North Korea.

Top News

In other news around the markets:

  • On Tuesday, a jury ruled that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was not guilty of restricting competition and violating antitrust laws with its latest iTunes update, iTunes 7.0. The update makes the program incompatible with non-Apple devices, something the plaintiff said drove iPod prices upward. However the jury unanimously voted that the new program was an improvement to the user experience, which does not violate any antitrust laws.
  • Russians are finally feeling the effects of Western sanctions as the ruble has been on the decline despite the central bank’s recent interest rate hike. The currency lost 20 percent against the dollar on Tuesday as falling oil prices coupled with sanctions against the nation’s economy crippled its financial system. Panicked about rapidly rising prices, Russians emptied some of the nation’s ATMs and flooded stores to buy expensive items like cars.
  • On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve will wrap up its two-day policy meeting, with investors eager to see whether or not the bank has made any changes to its policy statement. The bank is largely expected to be more hawkish, with most expecting to see a change to the policy statement that will suggest an interest rate hike is coming soon. Investors will also be keeping an eye on the bank’s forecasts for economic growth, as plunging oil prices have complicated the U.S. economy’s outlook.
  • Sprint (NYSE: S) is set to receive a record-breaking fine over illegal charges to customers through a process known as "cramming." The telecommunications company charged its users for unwanted text message alerts, sports scores and other services, prompting the Federal Communications Commission to investigate the matter. Once the fine has been issued, customers who believe they were victims will have the opportunity to be reimbursed.

Asian Markets

Asian markets were mostly lower with the exception of the NIKKEI, which gained 0.38 percent, and the Shanghai composite, which rose 1.28 percent. The KOSPI was down 0.21 percent, the Shenzhen composite lost 0.51 percent and the Hang Seng index was down 0.37 percent.

European Markets

European markets were down across the board; the FTSE was down 0.54 percent, the STOXX 600 lost 0.56 percent, the DAX fell 0.84 percent and the CAC 40 was down 0.60 percent.

Commodities

Energy futures dipped lower; Brent futures were down 0.93 percent and WTI futures lost 1.81 percent. Gold and silver gained 0.07 percent and 0.40 percent, respectively, but industrial metals were lower. Copper fell 0.30 percent, aluminum was down 0.81 percent, zinc lost 1.43 percent and tin was down 1.74 percent.

Currencies

The euro was lower against the dollar, down to $1.2468. The common currency also lost 0.20 percent against the pound and 0.02 percent against the franc, but gained 0.33 percent against the yen. The dollar was also higher against the yen, up 0.66 percent, and the greenback also gained 0.18 percent against the pound and 0.35 percent against the franc.

Earnings

Notable earnings reports released on Tuesday included:

  • Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) reported second quarter EPS of $0.28 on revenue of $1.56 billion, compared to last year’s EPS of $0.15 on revenue of $2.05 billion.
  • Navistar International Corp (NYSE: NAV) reported a fourth quarter loss of $0.88 on revenue of $3.01 billion, compared to last year’s loss of $1.90 on revenue of $2.75 billion.

Pre-Market Movers

Stocks moving in the Premarket included:

  • International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) was up 0.2 percent in premarket trade after declining 7.10 percent over the past week.
  • Transocean Ltd (NYSE: RIG) was up 0.18 percent in premarket trade after rising 3.26 percent on Tuesday.
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) was up 0.18 percent in premarket trade after falling 2.56 percent on Tuesday.
  • Verizon Communications Inc (NYSE: VZ) was down 0.42 percent in premarket trade after choppy trading took the stock down 2.96 percent over the past five days.

Earnings

Notable releases expected on Wednesday include:

  • FedEx Corporation (NYSE: FDX) reported second quarter EPS of $2.14 on revenue of $11.98 billion, compared to last year’s EPS of $1.57 on revenue of $11.40 billion.
  • Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ: ORCL) is expected to report second quarter EPS of $0.68 on revenue of $9.52 billion, compared to last year’s EPS of $0.69 on revenue of $9.28 billion.
  • General Mills, Inc. (NYSE: GIS) reported second quarter EPS of $0.80 on revenue of $4.71 billion, compared to last year’s EPS of $0.83 on revenue of $4.88 billion.
  • Joy Global Inc. (NYSE: JOY) reported fourth quarter EPS of $1.25 on revenue of $1.13 billion, compared to last year’s EPS of $1.11 on revenue of $1.18 billion.

Economics

The Federal Reserve’s policy statement will be the main event on Wednesday’s economic calendar, with investors speculating that the bank will likely take a less dovish tone. Other notable economic releases expected on Wednesday include eurozone CPI, U.S. CPI, the British unemployment rate, the U.S. current account and U.S. oil inventory data.

Tune into Benzinga’s pre-market info show with Dennis Dick and Joel Elconin here.

Posted-In: Earnings News Guidance Emerging Markets Eurozone Futures Commodities Previews

 

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