Stocks are just higher after spending much of the morning mixed,
following a spate of earnings news before the bell, some of which
was disappointing. Stocks also managed to shake off surprising news
from Apple (
), technology's most valuable company, and an earnings
disappointment from Citigroup (
In the latest economic data, the Empire State Manufacturing
index rose to 11.9 in January, short of economists' forecast for a
rise to 13.
Also, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo
housing market index remained flat at 16. Economists had expected
the gauge to pick up a point, to 17, according to a MarketWatch
poll. The index measures confidence in the market for newly built
In the latest company news:
International Business Machines (
) is higher in morning trade ahead of the company's Q4 financial
results, which are due in the extended-hours tonight. Analysts
polled by Thomson Reuters are expecting a profit of $4.08 per share
on sales of $28.3 billion.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs said Monday he would be taking a leave of
absence to "focus on his health." U.S. markets were closed Monday
for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Jobs announced the news in
a brief e-mail to employees which was released to the media. No
details were given on his health condition. Jobs said he will
continue in his role as CEO, placing COO Tim Cook in charge of the
firm's daily operations. Cook is currently in charge of Apple's
worldwide sales and operations, along with its Macintosh
Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (
) will take a 2.2 billion pounds ($3.4 billion) charge against
earnings in the fourth quarter to provide for litigation over its
diabetes drug, Avandia, the AP and other news outlets report. The
company said the charge is due mainly to additional costs related
to the investigation of the company's sales and promotional
practices by the U.S. Attorney for Colorado.
General Motors (
) is expanding an earlier recall of some 2011 model-year trucks and
SUVs to fix a problem that could cause the vehicles' rear axles to
lock, the AP reports. The recall, originally announced in December,
now covers 26,751 Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC trucks and SUVs. The
models affected are: Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV, Cadillac EXT,
Chevrolet Avalanche, Colorado, Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe; and GMC
Canyon, Sierra, Yukon and Yukon XL.
JetBlue Airways (JBLU) said that the massive Northeastern
blizzard in December, which hit its home base, had reduced its
operating income in the fourth quarter, resulting in about $30
million in lost passenger revenue. Some 1,400 flights were
cancelled in five days before, during and after the blizzard. The
normal run of flights for JBLU is 600 per day. The company,
however, states that its December traffic rose 3.7%, helping offset
the storm's impact.
Smith & Nephew (SNN) rises after a weekend report that
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) was considering a fresh takeover
approach worth at least 800 pence a share, Reuters reported on
Monday. The Sunday Times newspaper said, without citing sources,
that JNJ was understood to be weighing a formal offer for (SNN)
after a tentative approach was rejected last year.
ADRs of Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) are just higher after the oil
major--Europe's largest; said it shut down production from four
Brent crude platforms in the North Sea following an accident,
Bloomberg reports. Shell has declined to say when operations will
resume or whether the company would have to declare force majeure
on Brent crude shipments.
Comcast (CMCSA) shares are just higher after Bloomberg reported
that the company's proposed merger with NBC Universal is close to
approval from the Federal Communications Commission. Four of five
members of the FCC could vote on the deal today after negotiations
over the merger terms during the holiday weekend.
Shares of Goldman Sachs (GS) are down following news the
investment bank plans to limit the upcoming offering of shares in
Facebook to non-U.S. investors. In a statement, the investment bank
cited "intense media coverage" since details of the deal emerged
Jan. 2 as well as possible issues over selling stakes in private
firms to American investors for the decision.
Shares of American Airlines parent AMR (AMR) are down even as
the company said today that it has entered into an agreement with
priceline.com (PCLN) to utilize American's direct connect
technology to access fares as well as customized travel products
and services. Priceline.com expects to begin issuing American
Airlines tickets through the link in the near future. Terms of the
agreement were not disclosed. The link is part of a long-term
relationship between American Airlines and priceline.com.
Shares of Yum! Brands (YUM) are higher as the company said its
plans to place its Long John Silver's and A&W All-American Food
Restaurants for sale, and has begun a process to identify a buyer.
In a statement, the company said it is sharpening its long-term
growth focus on building leading brands in every significant
category in China, driving aggressive international expansion and
improving its U.S. brand positions by building new dayparts and
sales layers at Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC.
In the latest earnings news:
--Citigroup said Q4 EPS were $0.04, worse than the Thomson
Reuters mean for $0.08. Sales were $18.4 billion, below forecasts
for $20.4 billion.
--TD Ameritrade (AMTD) said this morning that Q1 EPS were $0.25,
meeting the Thomson Reuters mean estimate. Sales were $656 million,
above estimates for $648.3 million. Average client trades per day
of approximately 372,000, a decrease of 2%.
--Courier (CRRC) said this morning that Q1 sales were $61.2
million, down 3% from a year ago. It earned $0.14 per share, below
the Thomson Reuters mean for $0.18. For the year, it sees sales
between $271 million and $283 million, and EPS less items between
$.90 and $1.20. The Thomson Reuters mean is $1.09.
--Charles Schwab (SCHW) said this morning that Q4 sales were
$1.127 billion, more than the Thomson Reuters mean for $1.10559
billion. It earned a dime per share, meeting estimates.
--Comerica (CMA) reported that net income for the fourth quarter
rose to $95 million, or $0.53 per share, an increase from year-ago
net income of $59 million or $0.33 per share. The results top the
consensus estimate of fourth quarter earnings of $0.32 per share,
according to an analyst poll by
Commodities are higher. February gold contracts are up $0.06, or
0.62%, to $1,369 an ounce while February crude oil contacts are up
0.09%, or $0.1, at $91.63 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.15%
to $38.86 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down
0.96% to $6.04.
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.78% to
$133.72. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 1.77% to $55.85.
iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 1.87% to $28.26.