AT&T’s Acquisition and Earnings Season in Focus: Morning Buzzers

The U.S. markets were off to a weak start on Tuesday, despite some upbeat economic news from around the world. Market participants are reacting to at least one significant earnings miss this morning, and preparing for more major announcements later this week.

At 8:50 a.m.: DJIA: -0.16%, S&P: -0.29%, NASDAQ: -0.08%.

Here’s what’s buzzing in the pre-market:Verizon iPhone

Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is off about 2 percent in the pre-market following its fourth-quarter results. The telecom company reported an earnings loss of $1.48 per share, which compares to a loss of $0.71 per share for the quarter in 2011. The company cites non-cash pension items and a negative impact from hurricane Sandy as contributors to the loss.

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Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) is feeling the fallout from an accounting problem that surfaced over the weekend. The company announced on Friday that it will take a non-cash charge of approximately $580 million and fire several senior managers because of “deliberate, multi-year, coordinated accounting misconduct concealed at Siwei, located in Zhengzhou, China,” a mining-equipment manufacturer that Caterpillar bought last year.

Money ManAT&T (NYSE:T) was trading about 1 percent lower after Atlantic Tele-Network (NASDAQ:ATNI) announced the sale of its domestic retail wireless business to the larger carrier. The subsidiary, named Allied Wireless Communications, serves approximately 585,000 customers in the rural areas of six states, and was purchased for $780 million.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) reported fourth-quarter results that were ahead of current expectations, but forecast growth that lagged behind. Shares were off fractionally in the pre-market following news that the healthcare company grew full-year sales 3.4 percent to $67.2 billion, and grew full-year EPS by 2.0 percent to $5.10, excluding special items.

DuPont (NYSE:DD) climbed over 1 percent after it reported fourth-quarter and full-year results that topped expectations. Earnings came in at $0.11 per share, while sales were flat at $7.3 billion for the quarter. Full-year earnings came to $3.33 per share, off just about 20 cents from last year.

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