Stocks Trying to Battle Back From a Two-Day Rout

U.S. equities are modestly higher in pre-market action following the February labor report that was only modestly above estimates. The report is in stark contrast to January's blowout figures and may be soothing some of the anxiety over the Fed's future actions. Treasury yields are tumbling in the wake of the data, and the U.S. dollar continues to relinquish some of this week's rally, while crude oil prices are mixed, and gold is trading to the upside. Equity news is focused on earnings, as Ulta Beauty handily beat estimates and provided upbeat guidance, and Oracle eclipsed forecasts and increased its dividend, but Gap fell well short of expectations amid a tumble in online sales, and it saw a shakeup in management. Asia finished lower, and markets in Europe are seeing widespread losses, amid turbulence in the banking sector.

As of 8:50 a.m. ET, the March S&P 500 Index future is 15 points above fair value, the Nasdaq Index future is 114 points north of fair value, and the DJIA future is 40 points above fair value. WTI crude oil is increasing $0.33 to $76.09 per barrel, while Brent crude oil is declining $0.25 to $81.34 per barrel. The gold spot price is up $9.30 to $1,842.80 per ounce. Elsewhere, the Dollar Index is declining 0.5% to 104.80.

Oracle Corporation (ORCL $89) reported adjusted fiscal Q3 earnings-per-share (EPS) of $1.22, versus the $1.20 FactSet estimate, as revenues rose 17.9% year-over-year (y/y) to $12.40 billion, compared to the $12.43 billion that the Street was expecting. The computer technology company cited constant currency growth of 48% for total revenue of its two cloud businesses, infrastructure and applications. Additionally, ORCL upped its dividend by 25% to $0.40 per share.

Gap Inc. (GPS $12) posted an adjusted fiscal Q4 loss of $0.75 per share, far more than the $0.46 per share shortfall expected by analysts. Revenues fell 6.2% y/y to $4.23 billion, below the forecasted $4.36 billion. Same store sales fell 3% y/y, while online sales, which represent 41% of total sales, plunged 10% from the same period a year ago. The apparel retailer—which owns its namesake brand, Banana Republic and Athleta—also saw a shakeup in management, as it eliminated its Chief Growth Officer role, its CEO of Athleta stepped down Thursday, and it is still in search of a permanent CEO for Gap. Looking ahead, GPS said it expects fiscal Q1 sales to decline by mid-single-digits, and full-year revenues to fall within the low-to-mid-single-digit range.