Stocks are mixed at mid-session as investors digest yet another
stream of earnings news--most notably from Cisco Systems (
)--while jobless claims figures declined to a two-and-a-half-year
low. Adding to the mix is a sharp drop in January foreclosures and
easing tensions in Egypt on news President Mubarak might
In the latest employment data, new applications for unemployment
benefits fell 36,000 to a seasonally adjusted 383,000 in the week
ending Feb. 5. That is the lowest level since July of 2008, the
Labor Department reported. Economists had expected an
initial-claims level of 410,000 according to MarketWatch.
On the real estate front, RealtyTrac reported that the volume of
foreclosures in January fell 17% compared with December. Last
month, 261,333 homes received a foreclosure filing, MarketWatch
Overseas, the Bank of England left monetary policy untouched as
was mostly expected. Some economists thought a surprise rate hike
couldn't be entirely ruled out given recent comments and signs of
rekindling inflation risks, even as growth remains tepid.
In company news:
Cisco Systems (
) shares are down after the provider of networking equipment
reported Q2 sales of $10.4 billion, ahead of the analyst consensus
of $10.23 billion on Thomson Reuters. EPS was $0.37, two cents
better than the Street view. Still, the company's gross margin
missed analyst estimates. Gross margin fell to 62.4%, short of
analysts estimates compiled by Bloomberg of 63.3%.
) announced the publication of the results of its "locked assay"
study on noninvasive prenatal diagnosis of fetal Trisomy 21 (or
Down Syndrome) in the March issue of the American Journal of
Obstetrics and Gynecology. According to the company, the study
demonstrated that massively parallel shotgun sequencing is a
potentially viable path for noninvasive prenatal diagnosis of fetal
Trisomy 21 and warrants its validation in a larger clinical
) and Microsoft (
) are said to be close to announcing a software partnership,
Bloomberg reports. The move is reportedly a bet that both companies
will be able to better challenge Google (
) and Apple (AAPL).
Medicis Pharmaceutical (MRX) and Anacor Pharmaceuticals (ANAC)
announced that the two companies have signed a research and
development agreement to discover and develop a potential treatment
of acne using boron-based small molecule compounds.
Clearwire (CLWR) is planning on shifting its sales strategy away
from retail consumer services toward wholesale clients, Reuters
reported late Wednesday. The company will instead look to conserve
cash for building its high speed network, according to a source,
Bank of America (BAC) is reportedly planning to close some
retail branches this year in an effort to grow revenue from other
locations, Bloomberg reports. In remaining locations, the bank will
reportedly try to bump up revenues by offering investment advice by
In earnings news:
--Goodyear (GT) says Q4 sales were $5.1 billion, more than the
Thomson Reuters mean for $4.82 billion. Net loss was $0.73 per
share, including items. The Thomson Reuters mean, usually less
items, was for a loss of $0.07 per share.
--Momenta Pharmaceuticals (MNTA) posted today its financial
results for the fourth quarter and year ended Dec. 31, 2010.
Despite strong financial results for its fourth quarter, shares are
--Sprint Nextel (S) reports Q4 revenue of $8.3 bln, better than
the analyst consensus of $8.15 bln on Thomson Reuters. EPS loss was
--Credit Suisse (CS) is down more than 6%, after the company
reported a Q4 profit of 841 mln Swiss francs, below Street
expectations of 914 mln Swiss francs, according to
--Encana (ECA) reports Q4 earnings of $0.09, vs. expectations of
$0.13 per share. The stock is up 6.52% in mid-day trading.
--PepsiCo (PEP) announced its fourth-quarter net income fell 5%
due to higher costs. The company consequently lowered its full-year
guidance. The company posted net income of $1.37 billion, or $0.85
per share, down from $1.43 billion, or $0.90 per share, last year.
Ex items, net income was $1.05 per share; the Street view was $1.04
--Rio Tinto (RIO) says it plans to buy back $5 billion in stock
through the end of 2012. It raised its annual dividend payout by
20%. Sales in 2010 rose 35.3% to $56.6 billion, and net
attributable profit climbed to $14.3 billion from $4.9 billion a
--Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) shares are higher after the company
reported Q4 revenue of euro 4.86 bln, up 22% from year ago levels.
Earnings were euro 0.13 per share. The Street view was euro 4.6 bln
in revenue and earnings of euro 0.09. Looking to 2011, the company
said it feels confident to grow faster than its addressable market
and aims at a significant increase in profitability with an
adjusted operating margin above 5% of 2011 sales.
Commodities are mixed as April gold contracts are down $7, or
0.53%, to $1,358 an ounce while March crude oil contacts are up
0.29%, or $0.24., at $86.91 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 0.05% to
$36.52 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 1.49%
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.2%
to $132.81. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 0.93% to
$56.95. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 0.47% to $29.38.