Pre-Market Primer: Facebook Inc, General Motors Company Beat on Earnings

Global stock indices are lower today as multiple companies report earnings and durable goods orders rose.

Orders for goods intended to last, such as factory equipment and software, unexpectedly increased 4.2% in June after rising 5.2% in May. Economists expected orders to slow to 1.5% growth. Excluding transportation goods, however, durable goods orders were unchanged.

Jobless claims rose more than expected last week. A total of 343,000 claims were made, up from 336,000 in the week earlier. Economists expected 2,000 fewer filings.

After declining yesterday, Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures were down 0.41% at 15,437 before the opening bell. Futures contracts on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) sank 0.40% to 1,677.00, and Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures ticked up 0.03% to 3,049.00.

Facebook ( FB ) shares soared 19.7% from yesterday's close after smashing earnings expectations. The social network's adjusted earnings were $0.19 per share, up 65% from a year earlier. This beat the Street by a nickel. Revenue rose 53% to $1.81 billion with $656 million in mobile ads. CEO Mark Zuckerberg predicts that mobile sales will soon outweigh desktop ad revenue.

General Motors ( GM ) shares roes 2% despite announcing that second quarter earnings fell to $1.2 billion from $1.5 billion a year ago. Adjusted earnings per share of $0.84 handily beat Wall Street's estimates by $0.08. Europe was the weakest spot for GM, but thanks to aggressive cost-cutting, the automaker brought Europe losses down to $110 million from $394 million a year ago.

Visa ( V ) shares rose 2.3% in pre-market trading after it reported better-than-expected earnings yesterday. Earnings per share rose to $1.88 from $1.56 in the second quarter of 2012.

Dow component 3M ( MMM ) reported that second quarter earnings rose 2.6% to $1.71 per share, beating estimates by a penny.

Starbucks ( SBUX ) and Amazon (AMZN) are among the companies reporting earnings results later today.

European and Asian shares are mostly lower today. Britain's economy grew by 0.6% in the second quarter. On an annualized basis, it is 1.4% higher than a year ago, especially due to increases in services and construction. In the first quarter, the UK economy grew by 0.3%.

In another encouraging sign for the continent, Spain's unemployment rate fell for the first time in two years. The jobless rate fell 1.1 percentage points to 26.3% in the second quarter. The total number out of work fell 220,000 to 5.98 million. Part of Spain's job gains came from the tourism industry.

German business confidence improved for a third straight month. The Ifo index rose to 106.2 in July from 105.9 in June.

The Chinese government announced stimulus measures today. The country adjusted its current five-year plan to include another 500 billion renminbi on railways, bringing the total for 2010 to 2015 3.3 trillion renminbi. The government also pledged to reduce value-added taxes for small businesses and cut some red tape for exporters.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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