Ultimate Market Recap: Consumer Sentiment Improves, Markets Mixed

Friday Morning’s Top Stories

Europe pitched its euro-zone deal to China (NYSE:FXI) today with the arrival of Klaus Regling, chief executive of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) in Beijing. China has said to accept the deal and will discuss whether or not they will participate in the fund. In a news conference, Regling said “no conclusion, certainly, today during our visit” would occur.

Don’t Miss: Here’s What Banks Must Do for Eurozone Restructuring.

Amerigroup Corp. (NYSE:AGP) reported its third quarter profit plummeted 43 percent on higher premium revenues and health benefit expenses. The company saw a $48.1 million profit  (.96 cents per share), down from $84.3 million ($1.68  per share) from the previous year. This included a 25 cent per-share benefit in the current quarter from retroactive premium revenue. Amerigroup’s revenue increased 7.3 percent to $1.6 billion while analysts had expected a .67 cent per share profit on $1.57 billion revenue.

Spain’s (NYSE:EWP) third quarter unemployment increased to 21.5 percent, up from 20.89 percent in the previous quarter on 146,800 less jobs. This jobless number represents the highest in the developed world; however, it didn’t deter a strong tourist season this past summer.

Samsung Electronics Co. (SSNLF.PK) surpassed Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in the third quarter for smartphone market share at 23.8 percent vs. Apple’s 14.6 percent market share. This gives the company the top stop, according to Strategy Analytics.  Nokia (NYSE:NOK) came in right behind Apple for third place with a 14.4 percent market share. Samsung’s record-breaking sales of $27.8 million helped catapult the company to the top.

Super Hot Feature: Witness the Mind Blowing Future According to Microsoft.

Moody’s Investors Service increased Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) and General Motors Co.(NYSE:GM)’s credit ratings to Ba1, one level higher and a step closer to investment grade. The company gave a positive outlook for both automotive companies and cited their four-year United Auto Worker agreements a positive, enabling them to have “competitive” North American cost structures.

Friday Morning Hot Stocks

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) is trading 3% higher before the opening bell.  Third quarter net income increased to $1.69 billion (55 cents per share), compared to $342 million (11 cents per share) last year.  ”Three consecutive quarters of top and bottom line growth demonstrate out ability to consistently perform while at the same time making the strategic investments necessary for the future,” CEO Kenneth Frazier said in a statement.  The company competes with Eli Lilly & Co.(NYSE:LLY) and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE).

Investing Insights: Merck & Co Inc. Earnings Cheat Sheet: Margin Expansion Driven by Revenue Growth, Profit Rises.

Shares of Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR) are falling 11% in early trading.  Although third quarter earnings more than doubled, the company announced a cost-reduction plan as sales grew slower than expected.  The company expects to cut 5,000 jobs.

Chevron Corp (NYSE:CVX) is edging down in pre-market trading, despite the oil company reporting a doubling in profits.  Third quarter profit came in at $7.8 billion ($3.92), compared to $3.8 billion ($1.87 billion) last year.  Shares of Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) and BP (NYSE:BP) are also trading lower.

Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD) is trading more than 10% higher before the opening bell.  The company reported a third quarter profit of $97 million (13 cents per share), compared to a loss of $118 million (17 cents per share) last year.

Friday Afternoon’s Trending Stocks

Wall St. Watchdog reveals information about 10 hot stocks that have hit our trading screens here at Wall St. Watchdog in the morning:

  1. Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE:WHR): Shares of Whirlpool Corporation are trading lower over 13% today following a disappointing quarterly report to shareholders. Whirlpool Corporation manufactures and markets major home appliances. The Company’s principal products include laundry appliances, refrigeration and room air conditioning equipment, cooking appliances, dishwashers, and mixers and other small household appliances. Whirlpool’s products are sold worldwide
  2. Coinstar, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSTR): Shares of Coinstar, Inc. are trading lower over 7% today after investors sold shares on the heels of its quarterly release. Coinstar, Inc. owns and operates vending machines and offers financial services. The Company rents movies on DVD from vending machines; operates coin counting machines; and offers global money transfers and prepaid debit/credit cards.
  3. Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. (NYSE:IPG): Shares of Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. are trading higher over 11% today after a strong quarterly earnings release. The Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. is an organization of advertising agencies and marketing service companies. The Company operates globally in the sectors of advertising, independent media buying, direct marketing, healthcare communications, interactive consulting services, marketing research, promotions, experiential marketing, public relations, and sports marketing.
  4. Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE:CVC): Shares of Cablevision Systems Corporation are trading lower over 12% today after disappointing shareholders with their earnings release. Cablevision Systems Corporation provides telecommunications and entertainment services. The Company has operations in multimedia delivery, subscription cable television services, championship professional sports teams, and national television program networks.
  5. Aon Corporation (NYSE:AON): Shares of Aon Corporation are trading lower over 4% today. The company reported double-digit quarterly revenue growth to shareholders, but it wasn’t enough to impress everyone’s focus on the bottom line. Aon Corporation is an insurance services holding company. The Company is comprised of risk and insurance brokerage consulting. Aon’s services include helping manage risk for clients, negotiating and placing insurance risk with other carriers, and advicing clients related to health and benefits, retirement, compensation, strategic human capital, and human resource outsourcing.
  6. Expedia, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXPE): Shares of Expedia, Inc. are trading lower over 6% today after releasing its quarterly earnings report. Expedia, Inc. provides branded online travel services for leisure and small business travelers. The Company offers a wide range of travel shopping and reservation services, providing real-time access to schedule, pricing and availability information for airlines, hotels, and car rental companies.
  7. Deckers Outdoor Corporation (NASDAQ:DECK): Shares of Deckers Outdoor Corporation are trading higher over 10% today. The company delivered a strong quarterly earnings report. The company’s deal with Tom Brady must be paying off. Deckers Outdoor Corporation designs and markets footwear and accessories. The Company offers footwear for men, women and children. Deckers sells its products including accessories such as handbags, headwear, and outerwear, through domestic retailers and international distributors and directly to end-user consumers, through call centers, retail concept stores and retail outlet stores.
  8. Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK): Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. are trading higher over 2% today after distributing a fourfold profit rise to shareholders in the latest quarter. Merck & Co., Inc. is a global pharmaceutical company that discovers, develops, manufactures, and markets a broad range of human and animal health products. Merck’s products include a treatment for elevated cholesterol, a treatment for male pattern hair loss, a preventive treatment for osteoporosis, a treatment for hypertension, and a treatment for allergic rhinitis.
  9. Lear Corporation (NYSE:LEA): Shares of Lear Corporation are trading lower over 4% today even though double digit revenue growth continues. Lear Corporation manufactures automobile parts. The Company produces seating systems; wiring harnesses; terminals; connectors; junction boxes; body control electronics; wireless products; and audio systems.
  10. CIGNA Corporation (NYSE:CI): Shares of CIGNA Corporation are trading lower over 1.5% today after releasing its latest quarterly earnings report. CIGNA Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides group life and health insurance, managed care products and services, retirement products and services, and individual financial services worldwide. The Company also sells individual life and health insurance and annuity products in selected international locations.

Market Recap

Markets closed up on Wall Street today: Dow +0.18%, S&P+0.04%, Nasdaq -0.05%, Oil -0.54%, Gold -0.17%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) fell to $93.45 a barrel. Precious metals were mixed, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) down slightly to $1,744.80 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) gained just 0.02% to settle at $35.12.

Hot Feature: How Will Precious Metals React to the EU Bailout Plan?

Today’s markets were up because:

1) Europe. While news out of a summit in Brussels, where European leaders hammered out a plan to combat the region’s debt crisis, had markets up yesterday, some version of that same news is responsible for their lackluster performance today. As is the trend, investors got a little ahead of themselves with the enthusiasm, only to come to the realization that the details of the plan are rather fuzzy and Europe’s problems aren’t over just yet. Furthermore, Europe pitched its euro-zone deal to China (NYSE:FXI) today with the arrival of Klaus Regling, chief executive of the European Financial Stability Facility, in Beijing. China has yet to decide whether they will participate in the fund. In a news conference, Regling said “no conclusion, certainly, today during our visit” would occur. And it’s that neither-here-nor-there news that left markets unsure of where to land. 

2) Consumers. The final reading of the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index for October rose to 60.9, just slightly better than expectations. This report follows news yesterday that consumer spending was up during the third quarter, giving the economy a significant boost, considering consumer spending accounts for roughly 70% of the U.S. gross domestic product. Profits for companies on the S&P 500 rose an average of 16% during the last quarter, based on results reported so far, with third-quarter earnings beating analysts’ predictions by 5.5%, compared to a rate of 3.3% since 2005.

3) Energy. Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) reported net income of $7.83 billion, or $3.92 per share. Expectations were for a profit of $3.47 per share. Chevron was one of the few stocks performing well today. Investors will want to keep an eye on its competitors Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO), ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), and Total (NYSE:TOT).

After Hours Radar Stocks

After closing 4% higher, shares of Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) are edging lower in extended trading.  BofA and other banks such as Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) have rallied sharply since the EU plan emerged.

Investing Insights: How Will Precious Metals React to the EU Bailout Plan?

ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) is trading a fraction higher after reporting a 5.4% decrease in total petroleum imports.  Shares ofExxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) are also trading higher.

Pfizer, Inc. (NYSE:PFE) is .67% lower after the bell, despite rising .80% during regular trading hours.  Drug companies could receive a boost this quarter as Merck’s (NYSE:MRK) third quarter profit topped estimates.

After closing .60% lower, shares of Intel Corp. (NASDAQ:INTC) climbed .60% higher after the close.  Competitor Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD) reported a strong third quarter earnings report and received an upgrade to Outperform from a Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) analyst.  The firm attributed the healthy report to a strong fourth quarter guidance, which advocates the company’s previous yield issues are being addressed and its average CPU selling price as compared quarterly to Intel Corporation’s flat one.