Ultimate Market Recap: Greece Flip-Flops, MF Global Contagion

Thursday Morning’s Top Stories

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou’s referendum plans appear to be backfiring. Papandreous called an emergency cabinet meeting today and lost his parliament majority; he now has the support of 149 PASOK MPs out of 300. Opposing party members are calling for the prime minister’s resignation and want a new government to be formed.

On Friday, the Greek parliament will meet for a “vote of confidence in the government.”

Now, rumors are Papandreou is about to resign.

The saga of MF Global’s (NYSE:MF) missing customer funds continues and on Wednesday, regulators told Reuters they are unsure where the money is and said they don’t know why they can’t find it. CME Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CME), one of MF’s regulators, believes the $633 million in question appeared to be transferred after the futures exchange audited the firm last week. This could be a violation of CFTC regulations and CME rules.

According to CME, “It now appears that the firm made subsequent transfers of customer segregated funds in a manner that may have been designed to avoid detection.”

Super Hot Feature: 5 Markets the Federal Reserve has Buoyed.

On Wednesday, a federal judge threw out most of Sprint Nextel Corp.’s (NYSE:S) lawsuit against AT&T Inc.’s (NYSE:T) for its proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA (DTEGY.PK). Judge Ellen Huvelle allowed one section of Sprint’s suit to move forward: its claim that the merger would challenge smaller phone carriers (C Spire Wireless) to obtain “in-demand devices” such as smartphones.

Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) said on Wednesday that iPhone customers have reported problems with the battery life from the company’s newest software. The problems may vary from the phone’s network and usage patterns. In a statement to AllThingsD, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) said, “A small number of customers have reported lower than expected battery life on iOS 5 devices. We have found a few bugs that are affecting battery life and we will release a software update to address those in a few weeks.”

Investing Insights: Here’s How to Avoid Sony and Find the Next Apple.

Thursday Morning Hot Stocks

Major US banks (NYSE:XLF) are heading higher in early trading after the European Central Bank cut its main interest rate by 25 basis points to 1.25%.  Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), and JP Morgan (NYSE:JPM) both climbed more than 1.5% higher.  Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and Citigroup (NYSE:C) surged nearly 3% higher.  Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) is jumping 3.8% on the news.

CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS) shares are rising by 2.5% before the opening bell.  The company reported a 7.3% rise in third quarter earnings.  CVS posted a profit of $868 million (65 cents per share), compared to $809 million (59 cents per share) last year.  The company competes with Walgreen (NYSE:WAG). Dig Deeper: CVS Caremark Earnings: Snaps Cold Streak with Profit Growth.

Shares of Kellogg (NYSE:K) are sinking 7% after reporting a 14% fall in net income for the third quarter.  Earnings declined to $290 million (80 cents per share), compared to $337 million (90 cents per share) last year.  Shares of General Mills (NYSE:GIS) are also trading lower. Don’t Miss: Kellogg Company Earnings Cheat Sheet: Margins Shrink as Net Income Drops.

DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) is up by 4% after reporting a 7.7% rise in third quarter earnings.  The television entertainment provider added 327,000 net subscribers in the US.  Earnings came in at $516 million (70 cents per share), compared to $479 million (55 cents per share) last year.  Competitors to watch include: Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), Dish (NASDAQ:DISH), Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).

Thursday Afternoon’s Trending Stocks

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is rallying 111 points and the S&P Index is up 10 points today. Here are the h0ttest stocks catching traders’ attention on Wall Street:

  1. Medivation, Inc. (NASDAQ:MDVN): Shares of Medivation, Inc. are trading higher 110% today. Medivation Inc. acquires, develops, and sells or partners biomedical technologies in the early development stage of the research and development process. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>
  2. Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF): Shares of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. are trading lower 22% today. Abercrombie & Fitch Co. is a specialty retailer that operates stores selling casual apparel, such as knit shirts, graphic t-shirts, jeans, woven shirts and personal care and other accessories for men, women and kids. The Company operates stores in the United States and Canada as well as retails its products over the Internet. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>
  3. The Estee Lauder Companies Inc. (NYSE:EL): Shares of The Estee Lauder Companies Inc. are trading higher 15% today. The Estee Lauder Companies Inc. manufactures and markets a wide range of skin care, makeup, fragrance, and hair care products. The Company’s products are sold in countries and territories around the world. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>
  4. QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM): Shares of QUALCOMM, Inc. are trading higher 7% today. QUALCOMM, Inc. develops and manufactures digital wireless communications equipment. The Company licenses its Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) intellectual property to other companies, and produces CDMA-based integrated circuits; equipment and software used to track workers and assets; software for wireless content enablement; and offers services to deliver multimedia content. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>
  5. CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE:CVS): Shares of CVS Caremark Corporation are trading higher 3.77% today. CVS Caremark Corporation is an integrated pharmacy health care provider. The Company’s offerings include pharmacy benefit management services; mail order, retail and specialty pharmacy; disease management programs; and retail clinics. The company operates drugstores throughout the U.S., the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>
  6. MercadoLibre, Inc. (NASDAQ:MELI): Shares of MercadoLibre, Inc. are trading higher 33% today. MercadoLibre Inc. operates an online trading site for the Latin American markets. The Company’s website allows businesses and individuals to list items and conduct sales and purchases online in either a fixed-price or auction format. MercadoLibre offers classified advertisements for motor vehicles, vessels, aircraft, real estate and services, and offers online payment services. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>
  7. Kellogg Company (NYSE:K): Shares of Kellogg Company are trading lower over 7% today. Kellogg Company manufactures and markets ready-to-eat cereal and other convenience foods. The Company’s products include cereals, cookies, crackers, toaster pastries, cereal bars, fruit snacks, frozen waffles and veggie foods. Kellogg markets its products in the United States, Canada, and other countries throughout the world. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>
  8. Dendreon Corporation (NASDAQ:DNDN): Shares of Dendreon Corporation are trading lower 35% today. Dendreon Corporation discovers and develops immunologically based therapeutic products for the treatment of cancer. The Company combines knowledge in immunology and antigen engineering with proprietary cell separation technologies to develop therapeutic vaccines that induce cell-mediated immunity, the body’s key defense against cancer. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>
  9. Kraft Foods Inc. (NYSE:KFT): Shares of Kraft Foods Inc. are trading higher over 3.5% today. Kraft Foods Inc. is a food and beverage company. The Company manufactures and markets packaged food products, including snacks, beverages, cheese, convenient meals and various packaged grocery products. Kraft sells its products throughout the world. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>
  10. Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK): Shares of Duke Energy Corporation are trading higher 1.5% today. Duke Energy Corporation is an energy company located primarily in the Americas that owns an integrated network of energy assets. The Company manages a portfolio of natural gas and electric supply, delivery, and trading businesses in the United States and Latin America. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

Market Recap

Markets closed up on Wall Street today: Dow +1.76%, S&P +1.88%, Nasdaq +2.20%, Oil +1.63%, Gold +2.01%. On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) climbed slightly to $94.02 a barrel. Precious metals were also up, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) climbing to $1,764.30 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) climbed 1.64% to settle at $34.50.

Hot Feature: Shale Gas Projects Could Revive U.S. Economy

Today’s markets were up because:

1) ECB. The European Central Bank unexpectedly cut its main refinancing rate by 25 basis points to 1.25% in a surprise move Thursday, acting boldly to support the struggling European economy. The ECB also reduced the interest rate on its deposit facility to 0.5% and the rate on the marginal lending facility to 2.0%. The cut marks a reversal in policy after the ECB increased its rates in July and April, becoming the first major central bank to do so. Markets are already looking for hints that the ECB might further cut rates before the end of the year. With Mario Draghi now in charge, stepping in Tuesday to take over Jean-Claude Trichet’s position as president of the ECB, investors will be waiting to see whether the ECB will make other policy changes, especially whether it will boost its government bond-buying program.

2) Greece. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou officially called off his plan to hold a referendum today, after which the entire world breathed a collective sigh of relief. Had Greeks rejected the debt deal meant to prevent their government from going into default, the repercussions would have been felt throughout the world, and likely would have toppled other at-risk countries in the euro-zone, namely Italy and Spain. Though Greece’s troubles are far from over, and we have yet to see whether the debt deal hammered out between European leaders last week in Brussels will effectively combat the region’s debt crises, at least the plan isn’t dead in the water, as it could have been come early December, when the referendum was scheduled to take place. 

3) Retail. Investors fled retail stocks after many October same-store sales reports came in lower than expected. Of the 17 retailers reporting results, about 80 percent missed estimates, according to Thomson Reuters data. Among retailers reporting disappointing results were Macy’s (NYSE:M), Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS), Limited Brands (NYSE:LTD), Wet Seal (NASDAQ:WTSLA), Hot Topic (NASDAQ:HOTT), and Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF).

After Hours Radar Stocks

Shares of Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD) are edging .50% higher in late trading after the company announces plans to cut 1,400 workins in an effort to reduce expenses.  The company estimates the move to save $10 million in operational cost savings.  “Reducing our cost structure and focusing our global workforce on key growth opportunities will strengthen AMD’s competitiveness and allow us to aggressively pursue a balanced set of strategic activites designed to accelerate future growth,” said CEO Rory Read.  Competitors include: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), IBM (NYSE:IBM), and NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA).

American International Group (NYSE:AIG) is down more than 2% in extended hours after reporting a third quarter loss of $4.1 billion ($2.16 per share), compared to a loss of $2.5 billion ($18.53 per share) last year.  Other financials to keep an eye on include: Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), JP Morgan (NYSE:JPM), and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS).

Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is trading 3% higher after reporting a 28% surge in fiscal fourth quarter earnings.  The company also hiked its divided by 31%.  The company earned $358.5 million (47 cents per share), compared to $278.9 million (37 cents per share) last year.  “Fiscal 2011 was an extraordinary year in which Starbucks reported record earnings every quarter, and for the full year, and very strong comp store sales growth all around the world,” said Howard Schultz, chairman, president and CEO.  Competitors include: McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD), Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ:GMCR), Peet’s Coffee (NASDAQ:PEET), and Panera Bread Company (NASDAQ:PNRA).

Investing Insights: Starbucks Corp Earnings Cheat Sheet: Profits Grow by Double Digits For Fifth Straight Quarter.

Despite reporting a 38% rise in third quarter profits, shares of CBS (NYSE:CBS) are trading 2% lower after the closing bell.  The company cited the earnings increase from international sales, advertising sales, and streaming video licensing fees from Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN).

LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) fell more than 10% in late trading after reporting third quarter results and a plan to offer $100 million in more stock.  The company reported a loss of $1.6 million or 2 cents a share. In the same quarter a year ago, the company had a profit of $915,000 or 2 cents a share.  Competitors to watch include: Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).

Investing Insights: Here’s How to Avoid Sony and Find the Next Apple.