Comcast Claims NBC and Rackspace Trips Over Its Earnings: Morning Buzzers

The U.S. equity markets woke up on Wednesday morning and hit the ground running.

U.S. futures at 8:50 a.m.: DJIA: +0.07%, S&P 500: +0.15%, NASDAQ: +0.29%.

Here’s what’s buzzing on Wednesday morning:

General Electric (NYSE:GE) climbed as much as 4 percent in pre-market trading after news circulated that the industrial giant will be selling its 49 percent stake in NBC Universal to Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) for $16.7 billion. The deal will give full control of one of the largest cable networks to the largest cable operator in the nation. Comcast climbed as much as 8 percent before the opening bell.

Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) was moving cautiously higher ahead of its post-market earnings report today. Analysts are looking for modest growth as the company, and its industry, continues to struggle against economic headwinds that have subdued sales and limited growth prospects. Shares were up about 0.43 percent in pre-market trading.

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) has reportedly hired Spencer Stuart & Associates, a global executive search firm, to help find its next chief executive officer. The decision is particularly interesting given the fact that Intel has consistently filled its top executive position with a company insider since it was founded in 1968. While internal candidates are being considered, and people with knowledge of the matter tell Bloomberg that they are favored for the position, Intel owes the process due diligence, and will be vetting external candidates.

John_Deere_5510_Farm_TractorDeere (NYSE:DE) reported fiscal first-quarter results on Wednesday before the bell that showed a 27 percent increase in earnings to $1.65 per share, and a 10 percent increase in net revenue to $7.42 billion. This makes for eleven consecutive quarters of record earnings. CEO Samuel Allen commented that the results are proof of the company’s successful execution of its plans to maximize market presence while reducing costs.

Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) reported 2012 results that came in near the top of its earnings guidance range. Full-year earnings came in at $4.32 per share, a 1.3 percent decline year over year, but just 3 cents shy of the upper limit of their guidance. Fourth-quarter earnings fell 1 cent year over year to $0.70.

Rackspace Hosting (NYSE:RAX) tripped over its fourth-quarter results and fell more than 11 percent overnight. A 25 percent year-over-year increase in quarterly revenues narrowly missed analyst estimates, but growth of just 5 percent quarter-to-quarter suggests that the company is losing momentum. Company insiders point to an ongoing transition to second-generation technology as a catalyst for the slowdown, but others are concerned that the investments won’t pay off.

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