12:45pm (EST)

The market started off with a decent pop after getting a drop in the dollar and the release of some better-than-expected weekly jobless claims data.  There have been a slew of earnings releases and we will go over a couple of them but as we head to press the markets have given up their gains and are trading slightly lower.

The Labor Department said Thursday that initial claims for jobless benefits dropped by 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 434,000.  This gave the futures a lift as anything under 450,000 is a good sign for the market.  Initial claims have been fluctuating around this level for most of this year but haven’t remained below 450,000 for longer than two weeks and will need to keep falling to signal a widespread increase in hiring.

As a result, the Dow is currently down 57 points to 11,069 while the S&P 500 is off by 4 points to 1,178.  The Nasdaq is lower by 11 points and is at 2,492.

3M Company (MMM, $84.32, down $6.05) is down nearly 7% and is weighing heavy on the Dow after reporting its quarterly earnings.  The company came in with great numbers but lowered their full year guidance below current estimates and is accounting for 47 points of the Dow’s drop. 

3M reported a profit $1.1 billion, or $1.53 a share, compared to $957 million, or $1.35 a share, in the year-earlier period.  Revenue came in at $6.9 billion , up from $6.2 billion.  Wall Street was looking for earnings of $1.51 a share, on sales of $6.8 billion.

Elsewhere, Imax (IMAX, $19.90, up $1.05) made a run at its 52-week high of $21.30 after reporting a blowout quarter.  The company reported a profit of $6.7 million, or $0.10 a share, versus $1.1 million, or $0.02 a share, in the same period a year ago.  Revenue surged to $51 million, up from $43.5 million.



Our long-term subscribers remember Imax when it was under $3 and we were pounding the table for you to put this one away for a few years.  We have played options on this company for a few years now and have always done pretty well with them.  We had a trade lined up but we haven’t liked how some stocks are trading in this environment (see 3M) after announcing stellar earnings.  Still, we shouldn’t have doubted Imax and we think new highs are still on the horizon.  There may be a trade down the road again in this name.

We will be back in the morning with a full update and we are expecting some breaking news on one Biotech stock we are following.