Wednesday Morning’s Top Stories
New Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti announced he will wear two hats, naming himself Italy’s finance minister. He also selected key cabinet positions for his government, which will look to restart Italy’s (NYSE:EWI) economic growth in Italy, according to the Associated Press reported.
Monti and his new government team, including academics and private sector professionals, will be sworn into office later today.
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The Bank of Japan (NYSE:EWJ) cut its economic outlook, attributing the effects from a slowdown in overseas economies, a stronger yen and the fallout from the Thailand floods. It kept its benchmark interest rate target the same and unanimously voted to hold the overnight target rate at 0 to 0.1 percent.
The Bank said in a statement after the policy decision, “Japan’s economic activity has continued picking up, but at a more moderate pace.”
On Tuesday evening MF Global’s (MFGLQ.PK) bankruptcy trustee asked for court permission to release $520 million from 21,000 accounts. The money has been frozen for over two weeks and comes from a total of $900 million in funds. With the freeze, customers have been unable to trade and it has decreased commodity trading volumes.
Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C) may join its fellow banks and cut jobs, according to The Wall Street Journal. The bank may get rid of 3,000 jobs, representing approximately 1 percent of its workforce. This may include 900 jobs from its securities and banking division, which has seen revenue declines from market volatility.
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Nokia Corp. (NYSE:NOK) may enter the increasingly competitive tablet arena with a Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows 8 phone software offering in June 2012, according to the French newspaper Les Echos. The paper cited Nokia’s Paul Amsellem as its source and added that the company has already started selling new smartphones with the Windows operating system in France. Corporate headquarters would not confirm the tablet news.
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Wednesday Morning Hot Stocks
Shares of Nokia (NYSE:NOK) are edging lower after a French newspaper leaks a plan that the company is to have a tablet computer using Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows 8 phone software ready by June 2012. “We have not announced any specific plans as it relates to tablets,” Nokia spokesman James Etheridge told Dow Jones Newswires.
Target (NYSE:TGT) shares received a 2% pop after reporting strong third quarter earnings. Net income for the discount store rose to $555 million (82 cents per share), compared to $535 million (74 cents per share) in the same quarter a year earlier. This marks a rise of 3.7% from the year earlier quarter. Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Macy’s Inc. (NYSE:M) are trading lower in early trading.
Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) opened more than 9% lower after releasing third quarter results. Net income for Abercrombie & Fitch rose to $50.9 million (57 cents per share), compared to $50 million (56 cents per share) in the same quarter a year earlier. This marks a rise of 1.7% from the year earlier quarter. Gross margin narrowed to 60.1% from 63.7%, due to an increase in average unit cost. Aeropostale, Inc. (NYSE:ARO) jumped 2.3% at the open.
Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) dropped nearly 2% early Wednesday. The company reported strong net income, but revenue declined 0.2%. Net income for the personal computer company rose to $893 million (49 cents per share), compared to $822 million (42 cents per share) in the same quarter a year earlier. This marks a rise of 8.6% from the year earlier quarter. Hewlett Packard (NYSE:HPQ) is also down about 1.10%.
ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) is down nearly 1% after saying it will sell IS pipeline assets in two transactions at a combined value of $2 billion. A subsidiary of a Canadian pension plan will buy its 16.55 percent investment in Colonial Pipeline Co. and Colonial Ventures LLC. A subsidiary of Enbridge Inc. will buy its stake in the Seaway Crude Pipeline Company. Competitors to watch include: Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron (NYSE:CVX).
Wednesday’s Trending Stocks
As the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbs back and remains above 12,000, while the S&P 500 trades above 1,250 today, here are the company shares moving and shaking Wall Street now:
- Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL): Shares of Dell Inc. are trading lower over 1% today. Dell Inc. offers a wide range of computers and related products. The Company sells personal computers, servers and networking products, storage systems, mobility products, software and peripherals, and services. Dell serves consumers and businesses in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia Pacific region.
- Tyco International Ltd. (NYSE:TYC): Shares of Tyco International Ltd. are trading higher 2.9% today. Tyco International Ltd. provides security products and services, fire protection and detection products and services, valves and controls, and other industrial products.
- Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT): Shares of Target Corporation are trading higher a half percent today. Target Corporation operates general merchandise discount stores in the United States. The Company’s merchandising operations include general merchandise and food discount stores and a fully integrated online business. Target also offers credit to qualified applicants through its branded proprietary credit cards.
- Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADSK): Shares of Autodesk, Inc. are trading higher 5% today. Autodesk, Inc. supplies PC software and multimedia tools. The Company’s two-dimensional and three-dimensional products are used across industries and in the home for architectural design, mechanical design, geographic information systems and mapping, and visualization applications. Autodesk’s software products are sold worldwide through a network of dealers and distributors.
- Concur Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:CNQR): Shares of Concur Technologies, Inc. are trading higher almost 1% today. Concur Technologies, Inc. provides workplace eCommerce software and services that extend automation to employees, partners, vendors, and service providers. The Company’s Concur eWorkplace product integrates its suite of workplace eCommerce solutions and provides a portal through which employees can access eCommerce information and services.
- Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (NASDAQ:CLNE): Shares of Clean Energy Fuels Corp. are trading higher over 1% today. Clean Energy Fuels Corporation designs, builds, finances and operates natural gas filling stations for vehicle fleets. The Company also helps its customers acquire and finance natural gas vehicles and obtain local, state, and federal clean air rebates and incentives.
- Dick’s Sporting Goods, Inc. (NYSE:DKS): Shares of Dick’s Sporting Goods, Inc. are trading lower a half percent today. Dick’s Sporting Goods, Inc. is a sporting goods retailer that operates stores primarily in the eastern and central United States. The Company’s stores offer a broad selection of brand name sporting goods equipment, apparel, and footwear.
- Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE:A): Shares of Agilent Technologies Inc. are trading higher over 2% today. Agilent Technologies, Inc. provides core bio-analytical and electronic measurement solutions to the communications, electronics, life sciences and chemical analysis industries. The Company’s operations include electronic measurement, bio-analytical measurement, semiconductor and board testing.
- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT): Shares of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. are trading lower over a half percent today. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates discount stores, supercenters, and neighborhood markets. The Company’s discount stores and supercenters offer merchandise such as apparel, housewares, small appliances, electronics, and hardware. Walmart’s markets offer a full-line supermarket and a limited assortment of general merchandise. The Company operates nationally and internationally.
- Meritor Inc (NYSE:MTOR): Shares of Meritor Inc are trading lower a half percent today.
Markets closed down on Wall Street today: Dow -0.58%, S&P -0.66%, Nasdaq -1.73%, Oil +2.48%, Gold -1.03%.
On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) climbed to $101.83 a barrel. Precious metals were down, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling to $1,763.80 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) fell 2.11% to settle at $33.73.
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Today’s markets were down because:
1) Europe. Yields on sovereign debt continued to hit record highs in more countries around the euro zone today, and the region’s hardest-hit economies are showing no signs of improving. Now even Germany’s debt level is a “cause for concern,” according Luxemburg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker. Germany got fewer bids than its maximum target at an auction of two-year notes, as the government agreed today to pay the lowest yield on record. With Germany seemingly entering the fray, investors grew increasingly concerned that European Central Bank intervention might be necessary. Meanwhile, though Italy and Greece’s new governments are moving forward, their leaders have yet to prove that they can effectively stamp out the debt crisis before it spreads.
2) U.S. While the European crisis continues to worsen, investors are clinging to hope offered by reports demonstrating that the U.S. economy might be resilient enough to continue to grow, despite the increasing drag of Europe. Two separate reports today showed homebuilder confidence rising for the second straight month, and industrial production jumping more than expected. Meanwhile, U.S. Treasuries got a boost, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year note down to 2.02% today from 2.06% late Tuesday. The news was enough to buoy markets for a bit, but ultimately the drag of Europe and climbing oil prices resulted in a late rout that saw markets tumbling from slightly positive territory deep into the red.
3) Banks. Despite the appearance that the U.S. has avoided recession, at least for now, bank stocks remained under pressure amid questions as to how Europe’s sovereign debt crisis could impact global financial institutions. Shares of Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), Citigroup (NYSE:C), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and Jefferies (NYSE:JEF) were among the markets’ biggest losers today.
Shares of PetSmart (NASDAQ:PETM) dropped 1.2% in late trading after reporting earnings. Net income for PetSmart Inc rose to $56.2 million (50 cents per share) vs. $45.6 million (38 cents per share) in the same quarter a year earlier. This marks a rise of 23.1% from the year earlier quarter. Competitors include: PetMed Express (NASDAQ:PETS), Target (NYSE:TGT), and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT).
Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) fell nearly 3% after reporting a decline in earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter. The company reported net income of $456 million (34 cents per share), compared to $468 million (35 cents per share) last year.
After reporting a 5.6% decline in earnings, shares of NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP) are falling hard in late trading. Steve Gomo, NetApp’s chief financial officer, said in an interview that the company’s sales were below the mid-point of NetApp’s guidance range, mostly because of “nine major accounts that were pretty soft. There’s a theme across those accounts, and it’s the macro environment.”
Fusion-io Inc. (NYSE:FIO) are down almost 2% after the closing bell. The company announced it will offer three million shares of its common stock. Clients and partnerships of the company include other tech giants such as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), IBM (NYSE:IBM), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), and Dell (NASDAQ:DELL).
Shares of Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) are edging down in extended trading. The company held its annual analyst event on Wednesday. The increasing demand for ersonal computers and other gadgets to function more like phones will give the chip maker a boost. Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) analyst Simona Jankowski, for example, expects Qualcomm to reiterate its expectations for double-digit top and bottom-line growth during its analyst event. Competitors include: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE:AMD).
Limited Brands Inc. (NYSE:LTD) slipped 1.80% after reporting results for the third quarter. Net income for the apparel store rose to $94.3 million (31 cents per share) vs. $61 million (18 cents per share) in the same quarter a year earlier. This marks a rise of 54.6% from the year earlier quarter. Competitors include: New York & Company, Inc. (NYSE:NWY) and Express, Inc. (NYSE:EXPR).