Retailers Miss Earnings But Fed Policy Steals the Spotlight: Morning Buzzers

Stock futures advanced on Wednesday morning. Investors have their eyes on two big central bank events on Wednesday. First, at 10:00 a.m. EST, Chairman Ben Bernanke will testify before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress on the outlook for the U.S. economy (check back later for coverage of the event).

Second, at 2:00 p.m. EST, the minutes from the previous FOMC meeting will be released, allowing investors a chance to digest the thinking of Fed policymakers from three weeks ago. Unfortunately, a lot has changed since then.

U.S. futures heading into the open: DJIA: +0.21%, S&P 500: +0.23%, NASDAQ: +0.30%.

Here’s what’s buzzing on Wednesday morning:

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Saks Incorporated (NYSE:SKS) shot up nearly 18 percent overnight after the retailer announced first-quarter results that beat expectations, and reportedly hired Goldman Sachs to explore strategic options that could include a sale. Revenue increased 5.25 percent on the year to $793.2 million, beating the average estimate of $778.53 million. Adjusted earnings were flat at $0.19 per share, in line with expectations.

Lowe’s (NYSE:LOW) was off about 2 percent in pre-market trading after reporting first-quarter profit of $0.49 per share, missing the average estimate of $0.51. Revenue was down 0.5 percent to $13.1 billion, while comparable-store sales decreased 0.7 percent.

NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP) climbed as much as 6 percent in pre-market trading after reporting fourth-quarter earnings that came in ahead of expectations and revitalizing its capital return program. Revenue rose 0.82 percent on the year to $1.72 billion, just missing the average estimate of $1.76 billion, but adjusted earnings increased 4.55 percent to $0.69 per share, beating the average estimate of $0.68 per share. The company also announced that it has doubled the size of its share repurchase program to $3 billion and will pay a dividend of $0.15 per share.

Target (NYSE:TGT) stock was off about 2 percent in pre-market trading after the retailer reported first-quarter earnings that were below expectations. Adjusted earnings of $1.05 per share were down 5 percent on the year. The company commented that “first quarter earnings were below expectations as a result of softer-than-expected sales, particularly in apparel and other seasonal and weather-sensitive categories.” Target issued second-quarter adjusted earnings guidance in a range between $1.09 and $1.19 per share.

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Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) was off about 2.8 percent in pre-market trading after reporting relatively weak first-quarter results. Revenue declined 4.75 percent on the year to $5.81 billion, missing the average estimate of $5.91 billion. Adjusted earnings decreased 13.33 percent to $0.26 per share, missing the average estimate of $0.27 per share.

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