Friday Morning’s Top Stories
At the EU summit, leaders moved forward with plans for new fiscal rules but lacked enough members to modify the Germany (NYSEARCA:EWG) and France (NYSEARCA:EWQ) proposed EU treaty. Looking for approval from the 27 members, 17 euro-zone nations along with six additional ones have committed to the new treaty while Britain (NYSE:EWU) rejected it, according to MarketWatch. Hungary, Sweden and the Czech Republic remained noncommittal to the new fiscal plans. “We would have preferred a unanimous agreement. This was not possible,” said Jose Manuel Barroso, European Commission President.
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China (NYSE:FXI) will keep its its “prudent” monetary policy and an “active” fiscal policy in 2012, according to the Xinhua News Agency. The Political Bureau of the Community Party’s Central made these decisions along with Chinese President and Communist Party leader Hu Jintao vowing to keep controls on the property market and “fine-tune” economic policy in the coming year.
Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE:TM) made deep cuts in its profit forecast due to the Thai floods, the earthquake and a rising yen. In a corporate statement, Toyota said net income will drop 56 percent to 180 billion yen ($2.3 billion) for the year ending ending March 31. This represents 50 percent of the profit previously estimated by analysts. The company noted that the Thai floods attributed to the earnings cut by 120 billion yen, with more than 40 percent of the estimated losses coming from March’s earthquake. The company also cut operating profit and sales estimates.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek announced a new Spotify radio at the Paris Le Web conference today. It will offer “unlimited stations” and “unlimited skips.” Users can add songs heard on the “radio” to their playlists. The radio is expected to challenge Pandora (NYSE:P) head-on. Ek also said the new “radio” will be available in mobile form soon. That’s bad news for Sirius XM (NASDAQ:SIRI).
Friday Morning Hot Stocks
Shares of DuPont (NYSE:DD) fell more than 5% before the opening the bell. The company lowered its full 2011 earnings guidance. “We are seeing slower growth in certain segments during the fourth quarter, driven by global economic uncertainty. This uncertainty is contributing to ongoing conservative cash management in some supply chains,” said Chief Executive Ellen Kullman.
Waste Management Inc. (NYSE:WM) is climbing .90% early Friday. The company announced plans to raise its quarterly dividend by 4.4%. “Our strong and steady cash flow allows us to return capital to our shareholders, and our dividend is an important part of our capital allocation plan,” said Chief Executive David P. Steiner.
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Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE:TM) is edging lower after cutting its fiscal-year profit outlook by 54%. The reduction was due to the massive flooding in Thailand. The company now expects operating profit to be 200 billion yen, down from its previous 450 billion yen estimate. Competitors include: Ford (NYSE:F) and General Motors (NYSE:GM).
Texas Instruments Inc. (NYSE:TXN) is down 5% in early trading. Late Thursday, the company lowered its expected ranges for revenue and earnings per share. Texas Instruments now expects revenue between $3.19-$3.33 billion, compared to previous estimates of $3.26-$3.54 billion. Earnings per share is expected to be $0.21-$0.25, compared to the prior range of $0.28-$0.36.
Shares of Blue Coat Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:BCSI) are up more than 44% after agreeing to be bought out by investor group Thoma Bravo for $1.3 billion. Shareholders will receive $25.81 for each share of the company’s stock they own.
Flow International Corp (NASDAQ:FLOW) is popping nearly 30% after reporting strong quarterly results. Operating income was $5.2 million for the quarter ending October 31, compared to only $0.9 million in the same quarter last year.
Friday’s Trending Stocks
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is trading higher 170 points on Friday at 12,168, while the S&P 500 Index is trading higher at 1,254. Here are the hottest stocks drumming up buzz among traders and investors today:
- E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company (NYSE:DD): Shares of E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company are trading lower 3.57% today. E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company is a global chemical and life sciences company, with businesses that include agriculture and industrial biotechnology, chemistry, biology, materials science and manufacturing. The Company operates globally and offers a wide range of products and services for markets including agriculture and food, building and construction, electronics and communications.
- Titan Machinery Inc. (NASDAQ:TITN): Shares of Titan Machinery Inc. are trading flat today. Titan Machinery, Inc. owns and operates full service agricultural and construction equipment stores in North America. The Company also sells and rents agricultural and construction equipment, sell parts, and service the equipment in the areas surrounding their stores.
- Flow International Corporation (NASDAQ:FLOW): Shares of Flow International Corporation are trading higher 46% today. Flow International Corporation designs, develops, manufactures, markets, and services ultrahigh-pressure waterjet cutting and cleaning systems, specialized robotics systems, and food safety applications. The Company’s waterjet systems are used to cut both metallic and nonmetallic materials in many industry segments, including the aerospace, automotive, food, and paper industries.
- Texas Instruments Incorporated (NYSE:TXN): Shares of Texas Instruments Incorporated are trading flat today. Texas Instruments Incorporated is a global semiconductor company that designs and supplies analog technologies, digital signal processing (DSP) and microcontroller (MCU) semiconductors. The Company also operates materials and controls, and educational and productivity solutions businesses. Texas Instruments has manufacturing or sales operations in countries around the world.
- Altera Corporation (NASDAQ:ALTR): Shares of Altera Corporation are trading higher 1% today. Altera Corporation designs, manufactures, and markets programmable logic devices and associated development tools. The Company’s products, include a variety of programmable logic devices and hardcopy application-specific integrated circuits.
- DemandTec, Inc. (NASDAQ:DMAN): Shares of DemandTec, Inc. are trading flat today. DemandTec, Inc. provides consumer demand management (CDM) software. The Company’s software captures and analyzes recent retailer and market-level data to provide a scientific understanding of consumer behavior.
- Pall Corporation (NYSE:PLL): Shares of Pall Corporation are trading higher 8.5% today. Pall Corporation is a supplier of filtration, separation and purification technologies. The Company utilizes proprietary filter media and other fluid clarification and separation equipment for the removal of solid, liquid, and gaseous contaminants.
- Blue Coat Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:BCSI): Shares of Blue Coat Systems, Inc. are trading higher 44% today. Blue Coat Systems, Inc. provides Web security solutions that increase the protection and control of enterprise Web infrastructures. The Company’s Web security appliances are dedicated port 80 security solutions built to protect corporate networks against Web-based viruses, unfiltered Web communication, and inappropriate Web content. Blue Coat serves a wide range of industries.
- Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc. (NYSE:SKT): Shares of Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc. are trading higher 2.5% today. Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. is a real estate investment trust that owns and operates factory outlet centers. These centers house a variety of brand name and designer fashion outlet stores. Customer amenities such as common areas, reading materials, and children’s play areas are available in Tanger’s outlets, which are located coast to coast throughout the United States.
- Esterline Technologies Corporation (NYSE:ESL): Shares of Esterline Technologies Corporation are trading higher 2.5% today. Esterline Technologies Corporation is worldwide supplier to the aerospace and defense industry. The Company’s core products include technology interface systems for commercial and military aircraft, jet engine sensors and electrical power distribution equipment, high temperature resistant materials, combustible ordinance and electronic warfare countermeasure products.
Markets closed up on Wall Street today: Dow +1.55%, S&P+1.69%, Nasdaq +1.94%, Oil +1.30%, Gold +0.09%.
On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) climbed to $99.62 a barrel. Precious metals were also up, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) climbed to $1,714.90 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) climbed 2.24% to settle at $32.25.
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Today’s markets were up because:
1) EU. Despite opposition from the U.K., twenty-three of the twenty-seven countries in the European Union formally agreed to run only minimal budget deficits in the future and granted the European Court of Justice the right to strike down national laws that don’t enforce such discipline. Though the details of the agreement effected in a summit in Brussels are otherwise scarce, leaders announced that they had agreed to cap the European Stability Mechanism at 500 billion euros, and that EU nations would provide up to 200 billion euros in loans to the International Monetary Fund.
2) U.S. economic data. The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in October for the fourth month in a row, to $43.5 billion from a revised $44.2 billion the month before, despite record imports from China. Separately, an early reading on consumer sentiment in December topped expectations, though with a reading of 67.7, it still came in below the 69.3 average for the last five recessions, and is about 21 percent below the average reading since the University of Michigan began tracking such information with its Consumer Sentiment Index in 1978.
3) Banks. Financials led the day’s rally. JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) gained 2.98%, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) added 2.15%, Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) climbed 3.15%, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) jumped 1.53%, Citigroup (NYSE:C) climbed 3.68%, and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) tacked on 2.75%.
After Hours Radar Stocks
Raising its quarterly dividend by 2 cents, General Electric Co. (NYSE:GE) cited a continued strengthening in its financial performance. Although the payout remains well short of GE’s 31-cent dividend from before the financial crisis and economic downturn, the dividend increase is the company’s fourth in two years. Shares are edging down .06% in extended trading.
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Shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE:HPQ) continue to edge higher after the closing the bell. Apple is expected to release a new iPad in February, while Hewlett-Packard is expected to contribute its webOS software to the open source community. Shares of Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) are also heading higher.
The banking sector (NYSEARCA:XLF) bounced on Friday. Twenty-three of 27 leaders representing each state in the union agreed to pursue tighter integration with stricter budget rules for the single-currency area, while Britain said it could not accept proposed amendments to the EU treaty after failing to secure concessions for itself.