Stocks are edging higher as events surrounding President
Mubarak's resignation in Egypt continue to dominate headlines on
the last trading day of the week. Investors are also watching the
latest data on the economy that shows sentiment of American
consumers rising this month to the highest level since June.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment
index rose to 75.1 from a reading last month of 74.2, MarketWatch
This morning Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak announced his
resignation and delegated Egypt's affairs to the army, reports The
Wall Street Journal. The move comes a day after Mubarak said he
would not step down, which escalated angry protests in that
country. The reports out of Egypt are weighing on oil futures,
which had risen over the past two weeks on concern that supply
would be constrained due to the crisis in Egypt.
In company news:
Kips Bay Medical (
) announced today that its initial public offering of 2.1 million
shares has raised $16.5 million, before expenses. The offering was
priced at the low end of the expected range, at $8 per share. The
company also said that underwriters have a 45-day option to
purchase an additional 309,375 shares to cover excess demand.
Shares of Warner Music Group (
) are higher after a report that it has attracted more than 20
interested parties since putting itself up for sale, the New York
Post said, citing sources. WMG is asking bidders to submit their
bids by month end, the Post said.
Johnson & Johnson (
) shares are are just higher on a Reuters report that its Cordis
medical devices unit is planning to lay off an unspecified number
of sales staff and merge sales forces within its division. The cuts
come as sales at the unit have fallen due to lower demand for its
Cypher heart stent.
) is down by double digits, after it said it will adopt Microsoft's
) Windows Phone as its main smartphone platform and will forge
other close ties with the U.S. software giant. According to news
reports, Nokia said it expects 2011 and 2012 to be "transition
years." In the long term, it targets an adjusted operating margin
at the device division of 10%. It was just above 11% in the latest
Ford Motor (F) is higher after the company said it will pay off
another $3 billion in debt in the first quarter of this year as it
moves toward regaining its investment grade rating, Reuters
reports. Standard & Poor's reportedly said the move will not
change the BB-minus rating of Ford debt--three levels below
Goldman Sachs (GS) shares are holding firm following a Bloomberg
report, citing a former Treasury Dept. official, that Goldman chief
Lloyd Blankfein sough US government approval on the pay of top
employees despite not being required to do so.
General Electric (GE) announced today that it has acquired Wind
Tower Systems, and intends to use its technology to build taller
wind turbine towers at lower costs. According to the company, Wind
Tower Systems' space-frame tower system technology enables
developers to transport towers of 100 meters (328 feet) or more in
sections. The towers can then be assembled on-site, which reduces
installation costs by as much as 80%.
Children's Place (PLCE) says Susan Riley, Executive Vice
President, Finance and Administration, is leaving. PLCE says it has
started a search for a CFO and will eliminate the position of
Executive Vice President, Finance and Administration.
In other earnings news:
--Chipotle (CMG) is up after reporting yesterday after the bell
Q4 revenue of $482.5 million, better than the analyst consensus of
$469 million on Thomson Reuters. EPS was $1.47, vs. expectations of
$1.29. For full-year 2010, Chipotle posted net income of $179
million, up from $126.8 million in 2009, on revenue of $1.84
billion, up from $1.52 billion, according to Reuters.
--Tata Motors (TTM) reported consolidated net profit of 24.24
billion rupees ($530 million) for the fiscal Q3, up from 6.5
billion rupees a year ago, Reuters reports. Consolidated revenue
rose 22% from a year earlier to 316.85 billion rupees, the story
said. A Reuters poll had forecast net profit of 21.86 billion
rupees for the quarter on net sales of 298.6 billion.
--Discovery Communications (DISCA) posted its fourth quarter
results today, saying that its earnings increased because of TV
advertising sales growth across its media business in the latter
part of 2010.
Commodities are lower. April gold contracts are down $2, or
0.16%, to $1,360 an ounce, while March crude oil contacts are down
1.03%, or $0.88, at $85.86 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 1.45%
to $36.01 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down
1.11% to $5.33.
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.3%
to $132.45. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 0.43% to
$55.69. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 1.02% to $29.18.