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Market Preview: A Rough Patch (Sort of)

Dahlman Rose, which has a buy rating on FedEx shares with a $104 price target, said Wednesday it's looking for "solid" results in the quarter but added that fuel costs could be a "mild headwind" and bear watching.

"An improving macro environment in the U.S. and capacity adjustments in the company's international network should lead to solid earnings results," the firm said. "However, the fuel surcharge lag effect could weigh on earnings."

From the bearish side of the ledger, Jefferies has a hold rating and $100 price target on FedEx and it's expecting fuel costs to exact a toll on the bottom line. The firm's estimate is for a profit of $1.33 a share in the third quarter, 2 cents below consensus, but it softened the blow by saying it expects FedEx will guide higher for its fiscal fourth quarter, helped by improving demand trends in Asia.

"In a nutshell, we anticipate a modest F3Q miss on fuel (and despite strong productivity on an unseasonably warm winter and easy year-ago comps) but expect FDX to guide F4Q above consensus as the second derivative in Asian airfreight demand appears to be steadily improving and into low consensus expectations (F4Q consensus is $1.98 vs. $2.12 implied guidance, if we take the mid-point of the F3Q and F2012 guides)," the firm said. "All considered, we think the market would view this as a victory for FDX shares."

Wall Street may also press FedEx management for an opinion about what the acquisition of TNT Express by rival United Parcel Service (UPS) earlier this week means for the competitive landscape.

Check out TheStreet's quote page for FedEx for year-to-date share performance, analyst ratings, earnings estimates and much more.

Two other high-profile reports are also due from lululemon athletica (LULU - Get Report) and Nike (NKE - Get Report) on Thursday.

Wall Street is looking for a profit of $1.17 a share on revenue of $5.82 billion from Nike in its fiscal third quarter, and the sneaker maker is under some pressure to deliver the goods. Its shares are up more than 40% in the past year, hitting a 52-week high of $112.97 on Tuesday.

lululemon has an even higher bar to clear as its stock has risen nearly 90%, reaching its own 52-week peak of $74.57 on Wednesday. The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters is for earnings of 49 cents a share from the yoga apparel purveyor in its fiscal fourth quarter on revenue of $362.4 million.

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SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
DFS $58.61 -1.20%
FDX $169.81 -1.46%
LULU $64.31 -0.69%
NKE $100.42 -0.41%
AAPL $126.78 -1.50%

Markets

DOW 17,928.20 -142.20 -0.79%
S&P 500 2,089.46 -25.03 -1.18%
NASDAQ 4,939.3270 -77.6020 -1.55%

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