S&P 500 Week in Review: First Solar’s Rough Patch, Yahoo’s Asian Assets

The S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) was up 18 points to 1,361 last week. The index continues to rally as the following companies had extraordinary news.

Masco (NYSE:MAS) was down as Q4 results showed much weaker sales than expected. Higher commodity prices and a particularly large drop in European sales is to blame.

First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR): It’s been a tough week for First Solar, and it’s been made worse by news the German government’s cuts in solar energy will be in the 20-35% range instead of the 10-20% range. Also, spokesman Alan Bernheimer said Friday it had received approval to continue a major solar power project in California. Not elaborating, Bernheimer said that the Tempe, Ariz., solar power developer had resolved all permitting issues that held up the Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One project.

Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) was in talks to sell its Asian assets and save an enormous amount in U.S. taxes as a result. However, negotiators on the Asian side blame Yahoo for changing the arrangements that had guided negotiations thus far.

Expeditors international of Washington (NASDAQ:EXPD): Jeffries upgraded Expeditor and the stock is reacted well. The stock has taken a dive since last summer.

Avon (NYSE:AVP) has two positive stories on the leadership front. First, Mindy Grossman, who has been praised for her work at the Home Shopping Network, is set to take over Avon. Second, outgoing CEO Andrea Jung promised to keep the dividend and said she would not interfere with any efforts to cut costs.

NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP) earnings results came in after-hours yesterday. While results were largely in line with expectations, and revenues came in slightly higher than expected, clearly the market had baked in results that were expected to be much worse.

Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) is experiencing problematic trial results for its hepatitis C drug which is in development. The company has released a statement that says, in a small study of patients who had failed to respond to interferon — the traditional hep C treatment — most of them relapsed after a course of treatment with Gilead’s candidate, GS-7977. According to Norbert Bischofberger, the firm’s research head, the data imply that “additional direct acting antivirals may be necessary to effectively treat this patient population.”

General Mills (NYSE:GIS): Soft sales lowering fiscal third-quarter earnings, is projected by the cereal company. Because of this, General Mills now expects earnings per share between $2.53 to $2.55, down from $2.59 to $2.61. This forecast is aside from costs associated with General Mills’ acquisition of Yoplait yogurt last July.

Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) investors were already unhappy with Nividia’s reduced guidance, and fourth-quarter and full-year earnings came in on Thursday in accord with it.

NiSource (NYSE:NI) needs to be closely monitored, as it is having a huge mid-day spike for reasons unknown as yet.

Heinz’ (NYSE:HNZ) third-quarter earnings rose 13% from the prior year’s third quarter to 95 cents, beating consensus by 10 cents. The condiment and frozen food producer said that its sales rose 7% to $2.92 billion, above views.

Zions Bancorp (NASDAQ:ZION) followed the regional bank’s investor day on Thursday with shares up strongly today. Zion’s investors were told that it has enough capital and liquidity to repay its obligations under the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program.

To contact the reporter on this story: Scott Gillette at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com