Friday Morning’s Top Stories
Germany’s (NYSEARCA:EWG) new industrial orders for November fell an adjusted 4.8 percent after October’s downward five percent rise, according to the economics ministry. Economists had forecast a 1.7 percent monthly decline. Capital good makers saw a 6.5 percent decline in orders while producers of intermediate goods had a 2.9 percent drop and consumer-good producers saw a two percent decline. In addition, foreign orders declined 7.8 percent and domestic orders fell 1.1 percent. November’s euro zone unemployment remained unchanged 10.3 percent.
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Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE:DB) slashed 2012 forecasts for metal prices over worries of a declining European economic scene, fears in China and a potentially increasing dollar. Copper had been reduced 18.8 percent to $7,350/ton; nickel was cut by 19.0 percent to $18,625/ton, and aluminum’s forecast declined by 17.8 percent to $2,138/ton. In addition, the bank also cut its lead forecast 17.4 percent to $2,138/ton; the tin outlook by 17.5 percent to $20,625/ton, and zinc dropped 12.4 percent to $2,038/ton.
Hackers have posted on the Internet a file that explains how Symantec Corporation’s (NASDAQ:SYMC) Norton Antivirus program is designed to work and then threatened to release the source code. Posted by the group, Lords of Dharmaraja, Symantec said the post is an outdated 1999 document and “there is no actual source code present,” according to the New York Times.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is investigating the actions of MF Global’s (MFGLQ) primary regulator, CME Group (NASDAQ:CME). The agency is looking at CME’s conduct in the days prior to MF Global’s October 31 bankruptcy filing and whether its efforts to confirm customer money safety was sufficient, reported the New York Times. CME’s side of the story has MF Global as intentionally producing inaccurate documents for customer accounts.
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As a result of an agreement with Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Disney (NYSE:DIS) CFO Jay Rasulo says the company’s ESPN network will recognize some affiliate revenue earlier in the year. $70-$80 million will be moved forward in Q1 and Q2.
Big Note: Alcoa (NYSE:AA) kicks off earnings season next week. The DJIA component announced after the bell Monday. According to an average of 18 analysts’ opinions by Bloomberg, the company’s net income will fall 96% to 1 cent compared to 21 cents in the same period last year.
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Friday Morning Hot Stocks
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares are ticking up .39 percent early Friday. Samsung lost a legal battle to have sales of the iPhone halted in Italy. Samsung claims Apple broke some of its wireless-communications patents.
Despite reporting a dip in same-store sales, shares of Best Buy Co. (NYSE:BBY) are up .60 percent. The company said December same-store sales declined by 1.2 percent, and customer traffic was lower than expected. Shares of retail competitor Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) are also edging slightly higher.
FedEX Corp. (NYSE:FDX) shares jumped 1.12 percent after Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) initiated coverage of the company with an outperform rating. The bank also placed a price target of $102 to $106 per share. United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE:UPS) shares also gained .21 percent.
Shares of Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE:S) are down .45 percent this morning. CEO Dan Hesse acknowledged that Sprint has been throttling back speeds to the 1 percent heaviest consumers of smartphone data. Shares of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T (NYSE:T) also declined.
According to CRN, veteran channel executive Tom LaRocca left Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) to become VP of worldwide product strategy at Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL). CRN cited LaRocca’s LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) profile. Shares of HP fell .40 percent after the news.
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Friday’s Trending Stocks
Wall Street started the new year with pent-up positivity, but hasn’t kept the celebration momentum. As the reality of Europe comes back into view, here are the hottest stories affecting top companies to end the week.
Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC): BOA trading lower 1% in trading action. Reuters is reporting that Lehman has asked a judge to stop Zell’s Archstone deal. Lehman Brothers Holdings (LEHMQ), owns 47 percent Archstone, a real estate company. In a Manhattan U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Lehman was trying to purchase the reming stake in the company and avoid a bidding war with Sam Zell’s Equity Residential (NYSE:EQR), according to Reuters. For a 26.5 percent share of the company Zell will pay $1.325 billion. Barclays (NYSE:BCS) and Bank of America have a 53 percent stake in Archstone, and both are trying to sell half of their share.
General Electric (NYSE:GE): General Electric-Aviation awarded a $937.88M firm-fixed-price contract. The award provides services and supplies for Corpus Christi Army Depot overhaul and repair of the entire T-700 family of engines.
Boston Scientific Corporation’s (NYSE:BSX): New milestones for Alair system. Boston Scientific announced the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (NYSE:CMS), has confirmed substantial clinical improvement using the Alair Bronchial Thermoplasty System to manage severe asthma.
When the procedure is done in an outpatient hospital after January 1st, Medicare will reimburse for the Alair catheter with a separate “pass-through” payment. This pass-through allows payment for the Alair catheter in addition to payment for the bronchial thermoplasty procedure until Medicare establishes better utilization and payment data. Combining the Medicare payments provides private insurers a reimbursement standard for bronchial thermoplasty therapy.
RF Micro Devices (NASDAQ:RFMD): RF Micro Devices pre-announced lower third quarter revenues of $225 million, down from both consensus estimates and previous guidance of $250 million. The company blamed lower sales of second generation components for entry-level handsets to China based customers and weak sales from its multi-market products group. RF said, demand for second generation was well below customer expectations at the end of the quarter. On the up side, third and fourth generation smart phone component sales popped about 16 percent for the quarter.
“Despite this challenging macro environment, RFMD fully expects to grow in fiscal 2013, supported by market share gains, new product launches, and expanding relationships with both channel partners and customers,” added RF CEO, Bob Bruggeworth. Kaufman Bros. lowered RF Micro Devices target lowered from $9 to $6. The third quarter pre-announcement of weaker revenue prompted the downgrade. but Kaufman Bros. feels margins are at or near bottom and maintains a Buy rating.
Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:JAZZ): Jazz projects fiscal year 2012 total sales at $460-$485 million and Xyrem product sales $330-$340 million. Muzho raised target from $52 to $62.
Markets closed mixed on Wall Street today: Dow -0.45%, S&P-0.25%, Nasdaq +0.16%, Oil -0.03%, Gold -0.14%.
On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) fell slightly to $101.78 a barrel. Precious metals were also down, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling to $1,617.80 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) fell 1.98% to settle at $28.72.
Today’s markets were mixed because:
1) Jobs. Markets again focused on jobs today as the Labor Department released its monthly employment report for December. According to the report, the U.S. economy added 200,000 jobs last month, pushing down the unemployment rate from a revised 8.7 percent in November to 8.5 percent in December. The private sector reportedly added 212,000 new payrolls, while the government cut some 12,000 payrolls. Yesterday, ADP (NASDAQ:ADP) reported that the private sectorhad added some 325,000 new payrolls in December, though the Labor Department report is generally considered to be more accurate.
2) Europe. Unfortunately, worries about Europe’s ongoing debt crisis dampened enthusiasm over the better-than-expected payrolls report. Retail trade fell a worse-than-expected 0.8 percent in November, the European Union’s statistics office, Eurostat, reported on Friday. The European Commission’s measure of consumer confidence fell 0.7 points in December, while its overall reading of economic sentiment fell 0.5 points to 93.3, its lowest level since November 2009 — data that has “recession written all over it,” according to ING economist Martin van Vliet. The region is also facing high unemployment — well above that in the U.S. — with a joblessness rate of 10.3 percent of the working population in November.
3) Banks. Caught in the crosshairs between improving fortunes in the U.S. — including speculation about a government refinancing program for troubled homeowners that led financials in a rally on Thursday — and the problems in Europe, banks continued their balancing act today, forfeiting yesterday’s gains to close markedly lower. Still, many stocks, including JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), Citigroup (NYSE:C), and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), are still closing the four-day week in the green.
After Hours Radar Stocks
Shares of Dendreon Corp. (NASDAQ:DNDN) closed more than 16 percent higher on Friday. The company recently reported that sales of its prostate-cancer treatment Provenge climbed to $82 million in the fourth quarter. Shares are edging down .32 percent after the closing bell. Other pharmaceutical companies such as Regeneron Inc. (NASDAQ:REGN) and Jazz Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:JAZZ) also closed 8 percent and 9.4 percent higher, respectively.
After closing 2 percent lower, shares of Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA) are climbing slightly higher in extended trading. The company is scaling back smelting capacity and will report financial results on Monday.
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Transocean Ltd. (NYSE:RIG) shares declined 1.13 percent on Friday, and continue to fall another .20 percent in late trading. The oil drilling firm announced Ricardo Rosa would leave the company as its chief financial officer. Greg Cauthen will replace Rosa next week. Shares ofChevron Corp. (NYSE:CVX) and Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) are ticking slightly higher in late trading.
Despite closing 3 percent higher, shares of Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ:LULU) are falling more than 2 percent in extended trading. The company’s founder, Chip Wilson, will step down as chief innovation and branding officer at the end of January. Competitor Under Armour Inc. (NYSE:UA) is also heading lower after the closing bell, while Nike Inc. (NYSE:NKE) shares remain unchanged.
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