Before the Bell: American Airlines Sours, Warner Bros Drops HBO Name From Max, the Most Squeezable Shorts

Premarket action on Thursday had the three major U.S. indexes trading higher. The Dow Jones industrials were up 0.01%, the S&P 500 up 0.1% and the Nasdaq 0.23% higher.

Seven of 11 market sectors closed lower on Wednesday. Consumer cyclicals (−1.54%) and communications services (−0.89%) posted the day’s biggest losses. Industrials (0.33%) and energy (0.11%) had the largest gains. The Dow closed down 0.11%, the S&P 500 down 0.41% and the Nasdaq down 0.85% on Wednesday.

Two-year Treasuries fell by eight basis points to end Wednesday at 3.95%, and 10-year notes dropped two basis points to close at 3.41%. In Thursday’s premarket, two-year notes were trading at around 3.98% and 10-year notes at about 3.42%.

Wednesday’s trading volume was above the five-day average. New York Stock Exchange losers outpaced winners by 1,617 to 1,380, while Nasdaq decliners led advancers by about 7 to 4.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the March producer price index (PPI) before markets open on Thursday. Economists expect an increase of 0.1% month over month, higher than the January-to-February decrease of 0.1%. Core PPI, excluding energy and food, is expected to increase by 0.2%, compared to no increase in February. Year over year, February’s total CPI was 4.6% higher, and core CPI rose 4.4%.

This week’s report on new claims for unemployment benefits also will be released Thursday morning. Economists anticipate an increase in new claims from 228,000 in February to 236,000 in March.

Among S&P 500 companies, Bio-Techne Corp. (NASDAQ: TECH) led Wednesday’s winners with a gain of 4.4%. Bio-Techne is a holding company for biotech and clinical diagnostic brands. The stock has added about 10% to its share price over the past five trading sessions. Note that institutional investors hold more than 97% of the company’s float and that Bio-Techne had no big news to drive the gain. The company will report quarterly earnings on May 3.

Dish Network Corp. (NASDAQ: DISH) dropped 9.42% on Wednesday, the biggest loss among S&P 500 stocks. Analysts at Barclays lowered their price target on the stock, citing subscriber losses as the company tries to shift away from its satellite TV roots to become a broadband wireless provider. A good idea, perhaps, but extremely expensive.

American Airlines Group Inc. (NASDAQ: AAL) dropped 9.22% after forecasting lower-than-expected first-quarter profit, blaming high labor and fuel costs. United Airlines Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: UAL) said much the same thing a month ago, and its shares dropped 6.5% on Wednesday. Since United’s weak forecast, its stock is down nearly 5%, while American’s shares are down nearly 8% in the same period.

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