SAN FRANCISCO – Monday morning may bring movement in oil and retail stocks as the market works to assess what — if any — long-term damage will surface following Hurricane Rita's landfall over the weekend.
In addition, lingering news from Friday evening may produce traction among select stocks including Palm Inc., which is reportedly planning to debut a new version of its popular mobile phone/PDA combination device.
Over the weekend, fears on the market of extensive damage from Hurricane Rita abated as the storm weakened before hitting land near the Texas-Louisiana border. Though flooding has caused some damage to oil refineries in the area, the bulk of facilities in the Houston area were sparred major damage.
Still, some stocks may move on their damage reports. Independent refiner Valero Corp. (VLO) said over the weekend that initial inspection of its Port Arthur, Texas refinery has discovered significant damage to two cooling towers and a flare stack. The company expects to take two weeks to a month to implement the necessary repairs and restart the refinery, according to a spokeswoman.
Entergy (ETR) , the utility company that filed for Ch. 11 bankruptcy protection for its battered New Orleans unit on Friday, said on Saturday evening that more than 832,000 customers remain without power due to the combined effects of Rita and the more devastating Hurricane Katrina.
Retailer Home Depot (HD) said Saturday evening that 18 stores in the Houston area have been re-opened. An unspecified number of stores closer to the Gulf remain closed due to storm damage, the company said.
On Friday evening, mobile device maker Palm Inc. (PALM) may see gains after reports of a joint venture with software giant Microsoft (MSFT) and wireless carrier Verizon (VZ) to produce a new version of its popular Treo, a combination wireless phone-handheld organizer.
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (RAI) said after the close of Friday's market that it has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit in federal court alleging that various wholesalers, retailers and other individuals conspired to defraud the company. R.J. Reynolds's complaint outlines allegations that the defendants are guilty of racketeering, civil conspiracy and unfair and deceptive trade practices, among other charges.
Hologic Inc. (HOLX) approved a 2-for-1 stock split after Friday's closing bell. The split will be made in the form of a stock dividend, and is payable Nov. 30 to shareholders of record on Nov. 15.
Scheduled earnings reports may also produce some movement on Monday. Drug retailer Walgreen Co. (WAG) is slated to report results for its fourth fiscal quarter, though no time for the report has been scheduled. Jabil Circuit Inc. (JBL) is slated to report its own fourth quarter results after the closing bell.