The battle between valuations and fundamentals will be a theme over the next few weeks as earnings season plays out and tension builds going into the summer when the markets stumbled last year with QE2 coming to an end. The Fed's Operation Twist will keep the music playing into June again, but investors sitting on double-digit percentage profits may not want to be on the dance floor when the song ends.
On the data front, Wednesday brings the Mortgage Bankers Association's weekly application activity index at 7 a.m. ET, export and import prices for March at 8:30 a.m. ET, and weekly crude inventories at 10:30 a.m. ET. There's also the Treasury Department budget data for March, and the release of the Fed's Beige Book release on recent economic conditions to key on. Both are on the docket at 2 p.m. ET.
And finally, Alcoa was the star of Tuesday's after-hours session. As previously mentioned, the aluminum company was able to glide past Wall Street's expectations with its first-quarter profit of $94 million, or 10 cents a share, on revenue of $6.01 billion. The performance handily beat the average analysts' view for a loss of 4 cents a share on revenue of $5.77 billion, and the stock gained 5.4% in extended trades to $9.82 on volume of 5.5 million.Also active after the bell was Applied Micro Circuits (AMCC - Get Report), which dropped 5% to $5.95 on volume of less than 50,000, according to Nasdaq.com. The semiconductor company fell after forecasting a non-GAAP loss of 10 to 12 cents a share for its fiscal fourth quarter ended in March, wider than the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters for a loss of 8 cents a share. Applied Micro, whose shares are down more than 35% in the past year, expects revenue for the March period to come in at 6% below $52 million, which is the midpoint of its prior guidance. That translates to revenue of $48.9 million vs. the consensus view of $52 million. The company cited "slowness in the service provider space and the overall wire line market weakness" for the shortfall. Owens-Illinois (OI - Get Report) will also be a stock to watch on Wednesday morning. Shares of the Perrysburg, Ohio-based glass container company jumped 9% to $24 on late volume of more than 30,000 after it issued a strong outlook for the first quarter, saying it expects earnings from continuing operations to be at least 35% above a profit of 50 cents a share in the year-ago equivalent period. The company credited the strong view, which implies earnings of at least 67 cents a share in the March period, to efficiency that resulted in greater than planned production rates. The current average analyst estimate is for earnings of 50 cents a share. -- Written by Michael Baron in New York.
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