NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The only appropriate sentiment about stocks after a breakout session like Thursday's is: Wow! The bulls now look to be firmly in control with the all three major U.S. equity indices closing at multi-year, pre-financial crisis highs. Forget slowing earnings growth. Forget the sluggish economy and the fiscal cliff. For a day at least. The market's interpretation on Thursday was that European Central Bank President Mario Draghi was making good on his promise to do "whatever it takes" to keep the eurozone together, and stocks reaped the rewards. Now it's up to the August jobs report to keep the momentum going. The consensus view is for nonfarm payrolls to have swelled by 130,000 last month, according to Briefing.com. An in-line number would be a comedown from July's total of 163,000, but still better than the sub-100,000 readings seen in April, May and June. Thursday's stronger than expected ADP employment change report had Capital Economics wondering if its estimate for the government's read on August is too low but the firm doesn't think even a blowout performance would put the brakes on QE3. "The 201,000 increase in the US ADP private sector employment survey in August was the biggest gain in five months and suggests that our forecast that official non-farm payroll employment rose by around 100,000 in August may be too pessimistic," Capital Economic said. "But even if payrolls rise by something similar to July's 163,000 gain, we wouldn't expect this to persuade the Fed to hold fire at next week's policy meeting." The firm, which was poking holes in the European Central Bank's bond-buying plans even before the details arrived on Thursday, offered up a similarly skeptical view in the wake of the outline ultimately offered up by ECB President Mario Draghi. Chief among its criticisms is the strong conditional nature of the proposed bond buys as member countries must first ask for help and the fact that the purchases will be sterilized. "None of this is to say that the ECB's actions are not encouraging," wrote analyst Jennifer McKeown. "Indeed, the extra money that it can provide could prove crucial. But the Bank is still not prepared to do governments' work for them and questions remain over whether those in the periphery and the core are prepared to do what is required of them." Aside from the August jobs report, Friday is a slow day for scheduled news. The only notable earnings reports are Comverse Technology ( CMVT), Kroger Co. ( KR), and lululemon Athletica ( LULU).
Shares of lululemon have outperformed the broad market in 2012, rising 47% through Thursday's close at $68.60; although the stock has pulled back since hitting a 52-week high of $81.09 on May 3 and the forward price-to-earnings ratio is looking pricey at 33.3X. The sell side has a bearish lean with 12 of the 23 analysts covering the company at either hold (10) or underperform (2) ahead of the numbers. Sterne Agee is one of the bulls with a buy rating and a 12-month price target of $85. In an earnings preview on Tuesday, the firm said it thinks the company should have no problem eventually expanding to between 250-300 stores in the United States from its current based on 112. "LULU is well positioned for long-term growth," Sterne Agee wrote. "Speed, innovation, and commitment to strong relationships are the seeds to success. We are forecasting LDD SSS
low double-digit same-store sales growth and EPS of $0.30 in 2Q but see modest upside." The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters is for earnings of 31 cents a share from lululemon on revenue of $282.8 million. Sterne Agee's estimate is for same-store sales to increase by 12%. Lululemon's results are due before the opening bell. And finally, the after-hours session was marked by a dividend announcement by Dell ( DELL) and a blowout earnings report from Smith & Wesson ( SWHC). Shares of Dell were last quoted at $10.65, up 1.2%, on volume of more than 1.2 million, according to Nasdaq.com after the company's board approved the PC maker's first-ever quarterly payout of 8 cents a share, payable on Oct. 22 to shareholders of record on Oct. 1. The dividend implies a generous forward annual yield of around 3% based on Thursday's regular session closing price of $10.52. Meanwhile, Smith & Wesson shares were rising nearly 19% to $10.70 on volume of nearly 800,000 after the gun maker posted net income from continuing operations of $18.9 million, or 28 cents a share, on revenue of $136 million for its fiscal first quarter. The performance was much better than Wall Street's consensus estimate for a profit of 18 cents a share on revenue of $128.7 million. The company also lifted its outlook for the fiscal year ending in April 2013, forecasting earnings of 85 to 90 cents a share on revenue ranging from $530 million to $540 million. Smith & Wesson cited strong demand for its M&P brand product line for the performance. -- Written by Michael Baron in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Michael Baron.