All eyes will be on Ben again today in Washington. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke returns to Capitol Hill for a second day of testimony. This time he'll be appearing before a House panel. Yesterday it was the Senate where he stood behind the central bank's bond-buying program. Bernanke made the case that the benefits of the Fed's accommodative policies outweigh the costs and risks. He did however acknowledge concerns that the course of action could eventually destabilize the financial system.
Last night as a dark one for First Solar (FLSR). Shares of the company fell more than 10-percent in after-hours trading. The drop occurred after the company reported earnings. It missed by just a penny, but gave a gloomy outlook.This is a company that's done rather well over the past year. It's low back in May was a little over $11, so even with the pullback now, shares prices have nearly tripled.
Apple (AAPL) holds its annual shareholder meeting today. There are rumors the company is considering a split. Apple stock has of course soured since the summer, dropping from more than $700 to around $450.
Reporting this morning: Two discount giants, Target (TGT) and TJX (TJX). First Target, which beat the street. Earnings were $1.65 per share versus estimates of $1.48 per share. Target is up about 1.5% in premarket trading. There had been worries that the increase in the payroll tax would hurt Target's sales, but so far the company says there's no evidence of that.
Also reporting shortly, TJX Companies which operates several chains including TJ Maxx and Marshalls. TJX recently bought the online retailer Sierra Trading Post. But it's not clear yet how the company will integrate the site into its portfolio. The company dipped right around Christmas but has rebounded since.
There are questions about the dough at Papa John's (PZZA)-- and in this case we mean the money. Trading of shares had to be halted last night after the company said it needed to restate earnings from 2009 through most of last year. Papa John's had been trading at its 52-week high before the news broke. Shares were down more than 8% when trading was stopped.
Finally, we're on to Groupon (GRPN). The company is set to report after the closing bell. Shares are up in premarket trading. They've been hovering around $5.50 a share. A year ago they were above $20. Analysts are expecting the company to post earnings of 3-cents a share, compared to a loss of 2-cents a year ago. Piper Jaffrey upgraded Groupon last week citing potential internationally.