Ultimate Market Recap: Japan Companies Short-Fused Over Power, Groupon in the Gutter

Wall St. Brief: Apple and Microsoft Are HOLDING OUT on Kodak, Google CUTS Motorola Workforce

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is cutting 20 percent or 4,000 U.S. workers from Motorola Mobility’s workforce after previously shedding 40 percent of Motorola’s vice presidents; it had also already replaced the CEO. The cuts come in an effort to have Motorola focus on smartphone and R&D projects. According to the New York Times, Motorola’s cable hardware unit is next up on the block.

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Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) will sell Merrill Lynch’s private bank outside the U.S. to the Swiss company, Julius Baer, for around $1 billion. The deal is the latest one by the bank to increase its cash position for Basel III requirements and payment toward its legal liabilities.

JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) is looking for an annual pretax profit of $1 billion increase within five years thanks to a plan merging its corporate and investment banks, and its treasury and securities services business. In 2011, JPMorgan’s pretax profit was $10.4 billion but it will get rid of its return-on-equity goal of 17 percent a result of greater regulation.

Standard Chartered (SCBFF.PK) is supposedly conducting talks with numerous authorities for a settlement; this could take place this week as its settles the review into its Iran dealings. The bank is holding discussions with New York’s Department of Financial Services and the federal agencies, noting a divide between the two. On Wednesday, Standard Charter will meet with DFS and ask to have its license to work in the state, reported Bloomberg.

Eastman Kodak’s (EKDKQ.PK)’s auction of 1,100 digital-camera patents has become complex but the bids to-date are under $500 million, reported the Wall Street Journal. Without the high offers, it could affect Kodak’s ability to exit from bankruptcy protection. The participating groups include Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and a second one with Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Samsung (SSNLF.PK).

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Nokia SELLS Apps Unit to Digia and 4 Hot Stocks Trading Today

Nokia (NYSE:NOK):  Nokia has abandoned their homegrown software efforts and has agreed to sell their Qt app-tools unit to Digia Oyj (DIG1V). The company bought the Qt technology in 2008 to give developers tools to write applications for Symbian and MeeGo devices, these two operating systems were cast aside in favor of Microsoft’s Windows Phone. According  to a statement from the Finnish software firm, as many as 125 employees will move to Digia as part of the deal. No terms have been disclosed.

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Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC):  Bank of America Corporation announced that they have agreed to sell their international wealth management businesses, based outside of the United States, for an estimated 1.2% of client assets, to Julius Baer Group, the leading Swiss private banking organization. Payment received will be comprised of up to $250 million in new Julius Baer shares, and the remainder in cash.  The transaction, expected to close in stages, is subject to regulatory approval. Internationally, Bank of America will focus their management and financial resources by continuing to build their leading Global Banking and Markets business. Related to this, Julius Baer and Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, have agreed to enter into an agreement whereby Bank of America, Merrill Lynch will provide certain products and services to Julius Baer, including the provision for global equity research, product offerings, as well as structured and advisory products. The final purchase price will depend on assets under management at the completion of the sale. Shares of Bank of America Corporation are trading at  0.45% higher today.

Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc. (NYSE:ARE):  Alexandria Real Estate Equities of California has reduced their option to develop their site on the southeastern outskirts of Edinburgh from 924,000 square feet to 636,000 square feet. Coming after Alexandria’s decision to suspend their commitment to the park due to the economic crisis, this appears to further undermine former Scottish Enterprise chief executive Jack Perry’s vision for a £250 million development creating 6500 high-end jobs. The Sunday Herald understands that after Alexandria’s suspension decision, some of the land covered by Alexandria’s option was re-allocated to the so called bio-incubator consisting of  a £24 million office block for life science firms that are funded by Scottish Enterprise and the UK Government. The remainder was taken up by NHS Lothian for a parking lot to be used by Sick Children’s Hospital which will be built in 2015. Shares of Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc. are trading at 0.44% higher today.

Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE:TM): The Washington Post reported that Japanese companies are complaining about severe restrictions on their use of electricity. This is hurting their productivity and profits. Shares of Toyota Motor Corporation are trading at 0.63% lower today.

GMAC LLC (NYSE:GOM):GMAC LLC Mortgage is committed to preserving home ownership whenever possible,” said Dana Dillard, the company’s Senior Vice President. “In that spirit, we’re proud to support this initiative with Hope LoanPort, which will provide useful tools and education for borrowers.” Homeowner Connect was created in response to the National Mortgage Settlement, that called for a consumer-centric web portal. Additionally, Homeowner Connect aligns with requirements found in the OCC Consent Orders, the joint-GSE Servicing Alignment Initiative, as well as many new state policies symbolized by the recent passage of the California Borrowers’ Bill of Rights. After the initial roll out to GMAC customers, HLP will be actively working with other mortgage services who are with Homeowner Connect. Participation is open to both servicers already using the HLP Housing Counselor Portal, and new participants with HLP. Shares of GMAC LLC are trading at 0.04% higher today.

Early BUZZERS: Groupon CRASHES 21%, Apple Near All-Time High

Shares of Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) are plunging 21 percent in early morning hours. The company reported second quarter earnings of $28.4 million, compared to a net loss of $107.4 million a year earlier. However, revenue was lower-than-expected at $568.3 million. “We had a solid quarter despite challenges in Europe and continued investment in technology and infrastructure,” said Andrew Mason, chief executive officer. “We’ve deepened our relationships with a growing base of merchants and customers worldwide, demonstrating progress as we work to unlock the opportunity in local commerce.”

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares continued upward 0.49 percent to attract attention in early morning trading after closing more than 1 percent higher on Monday. Pre-sales for the next-generation iPhone will start on September 12, the day Apple is widely rumored to announce the new device, according to a report. The phone will reach customers starting September 21, the report adds, while for international markets will see the new smartphone likely on October 5. According to the website iMore, which reported the dates, the information came from two previously accurate sources. Shares closed at $630 on Monday, about 2 percent below its all-time high of $644.

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Monster Beverage (NASDAQ:MNST) shares jumped 1.75 percent early Tuesday. The company announced that its board approved increasing its share buyback program by an additional $250 million. The increase brings the total play to $500 million.

Despite receiving some small votes of confidence from Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), shares of Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) declined 1.30 percent in early morning hours. The WSJ recently reported that Reed Hastings, chief executive of Netflix, purchased roughly $1 million in Facebook stock. “In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Hastings disclosed buying 47,846 Facebook Class A shares on Wednesday at a weighted average price of $21.03 each.”

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Wall St. Brief: Groupon TANKS, Home Depot BEATS the Street, Kodak EXTENDS Patent Auction

Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) shares tanked 22.25 percent this morning after reporting its revenue growth was almost stagnant in the second quarter; the company did see its first quarterly profit. Groupon’s net income was $28.4 million vs. a loss of $107.4 million from the previous year. Earnings per share of $0.08 exceeded estimates and revenue rose 45 percent on the year to $568.3 million.

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Home Depot’s (NYSE:HD) fiscal second quarter earnings per share increased to $1.01 from $0.86 in the previous year. It beat forecasts and the company increased its fiscal year outlook above analysts’ estimates. Revenue had a slight increase of 1.7 percent to $20.6 billion but missed estimates. The company did enjoy “continued demand for core products” as its average ticket and transaction volumes slightly increased.

The FCC and Department of Justice are getting ready to authorize Verizon Wireless’ (NYSE:VZ) $3.9 billion acquisition of airwaves from numerous cable companies such as Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), reported the Wall Street Journal. In exchange, the companies will restrict the scope and length of agreements to sell each other’s services from deals after concerns rose they wouldn’t stop competing for Internet subscribers.

Toshiba (TOSYY.PK) will sell a 16 percent holding in Westinghouse Electric as it prioritizes its nuclear business in emerging markets. The company purchased a 77 percent share in Westinghouse back in October 2006 for approximately $4.2 billion. It is looking for buyers that have strong relationships to emerging markets. One preferred buyer is reportedly U.S.-based.

Eastman Kodak (EKDKQ.PK) extended the deadline to bid on its patent portfolio after round one with a group of tech companies was disappointing. This doesn’t bode well for Kodak’s intent to leave bankruptcy protection.

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Dicks Sporting Goods to EMPHASIZE Private Brands and 3 Hot Stocks Trading Now

Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN) shares fell over 20 percent at Tuesday morning’s open, the day following the company’s quarterly revenue that missed Wall Street estimates due to a weak European economy and the slowing of its high-margin daily deal business. Shares of Groupon Inc are trading 23.58% lower today.

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Granite Real Estate Inc (NYSE:GRP) was named as a Top 25 dividend stock, according the most recent Canada Stock Channel ”DividendRank” report. The report mentioned that within the coverage universe, GRT shares showed both attractive valuation metrics along with strong profitability metrics. Shares of Granite Real Estate Inc are trading 0.06% higher today.

Agria Corporation (NYSE:GRO) shares, a China-based agriculture company focused on research and development, production, and the selling of seed products, increased rapidly during Monday’s trading session. The GRO penny stock ended the day 3.49 percent higher at $0.890. The stock reached an intra-day high of $0.91, and during the last month, the stock gained 2.3 percent. Shares of Agria Corporation are trading 0% higher today.

Dicks Sporting Goods Inc (NYSE:DKS) claims it will focus on private brands. These comments were made at the Q2 earnings conference call. Shares of Dicks Sporting Goods Inc are trading 2.99% lower today.

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Pizza Inn WINS Hot Concepts! Award and 4 Hot Stocks Making Market Waves

The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD): The company’s prior view was $2.90, and the EPS view for FY12 represents stock buybacks. Shares of The Home Depot, Inc. are trading 3.67% higher today.

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Tesoro Corporation (NYSE:TSO)  will purchase the Arco Brand and the Carson oil refinery from BP. This $2.5 billion deal should increase Tesoro’s West Coast presence as well as give BP the cash it needs. The deal also would leave Tesoro and Chevron in control of over half of California’s gasoline production. Shares of Tesoro Corporation are trading 0.23% higher today.

Pizza Inn, Inc. (NASDAQ:PZZI) recently won Hot Concepts! award for its new division Pie Five Pizza Company, and the award is presented to a new restaurant by Nation’s Restaurant News. Clinton Coleman, Interim CEO of PZZI stated, “This is an incredible honor, and it supports everything that we envisioned when we launched Pie Five last summer. Pie Five was created to shake up the fast-casual dining landscape by introducing a new experience in custom-made, hand-crafted pizza.” Shares of Pizza Inn, Inc. are trading 4.68% lower today.

Alexza Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALXA): JMP Securities affirmed its Outperform rating on Alexza Pharmaceuticals.

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BofA SELLS $225.7M Defaulted Sewer Bonds and 4 Hot Stocks Demanding Attention

Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC):  Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) has sold most of the $225.7 million worth of defaulted sewer bonds it held. According to court records, the bank dropped out of a court case related to the bankruptcy of Jefferson County, Alabama. Shares of Bank of America Corporation are trading at 1.94% higher today.

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Facebook (NASDAQ:FB):  Privately held Facebook Inc. shares may hit tomorrow’s market. This could potentially add more stress to the company’s stock since rules that have kept some early investors from cashing out, have expired.

Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE:TM):  According to the Los Angeles Times, Luxury cars such as Lexus (NYSE:TM), Mercedes and BMW have earned poor ratings from a new crash test that simulates the front corner of the vehicle hitting another object. Only three of the eleven luxury cars from 2012 passed the test. Shares of Toyota Motor Corporation are trading at 0.54% lower today.

GMAC LLC (NYSE:GOM):  General Motors said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that they are bidding to re-acquire Ally Financial, formerly known as GMAC LLC. General Motors had owned Ally’s predecessor, GMAC, until 2006, when the automaker sold 51% of it to Cerberus Capital Management. The U.S. Treasury owns 74% of Ally. Shares of GMAC LLC are trading at 0.04% higher today.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL): Worldwide sales of mobile phones reached 419 million in the second quarter of 2012, a 2.3% decline from the second quarter of 2011, according to Gartner, Inc. Smartphone sales accounted for 36.7% of total mobile phone sales and grew 42.7% in the second quarter of 2012, the firm reported. “The challenging economic environment and users postponing upgrades to take advantage of high-profile device launches as well as promotions, slowed demand across markets,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. Shares of Apple Inc. are trading  at 1.11% higher today.

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Afternoon BUZZERS: Groupon PLUNGES 26%, Estee Lauder and Home Depot JUMP Higher

Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) shares crashed more than 26 percent this afternoon. The company reported second quarter earnings of $28.4 million, compared to a net loss of $107.4 million a year earlier. However, revenue was lower-than-expected at $568.3 million. “We had a solid quarter despite challenges in Europe and continued investment in technology and infrastructure,” said Andrew Mason, chief executive officer. “We’ve deepened our relationships with a growing base of merchants and customers worldwide, demonstrating progress as we work to unlock the opportunity in local commerce.”

Dick’s Sporting Goods (NYSE:DKS) fell 3.74 percent this afternoon. The company said second quarter net income dropped 27.3 percent to $53.7 million (43 cents per share), compared to $73.8 million (59 cents per share) a year earlier. Analysts were expecting earnings of 64 cents per share.

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Shares of Estee Lauder Companies (NYSE:EL) popped 9.74 percent this afternoon. For the fiscal fourth quarter, net income rose 24.6 percent to $51.2 million (13 cents per share), compared to $41.1 million (10 cents per share) a year earlier. Revenue also increased $2.25 billion. Fabrizio Freda, president and chief executive officer, said, “A very strong fourth quarter, in which we generated double-digit growth in sales, excluding currency, and earnings per share, was driven largely by continued momentum in the U.S. and strong growth in China and travel retail.”

Home Depot (NYSE:HD) gained 3.99 percent this afternoon after reporting results for the second quarter. Net income rose 12.4 percent to $1.53 billion ($1.01 per share), compared to $1.36 billion (86 cents per share) in the same period a year earlier. Revenue also increased 1.7 percent to $20.57. The results beat top and bottom line estimates. “As expected, second-quarter sales reflected the pull forward of seasonal activity into the first quarter. But we saw continued demand for core products and delivered second-quarter earnings above our expectations,” said Frank Blake, chairman and chief executive officer. “I would like to thank our associates for their hard work and commitment to our customers.” Competitor Lowe’s (NYSE:LOW) also gained 0.23 percent.

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Market Recap: Oil Bounces, Facebook Instantly Happy, Groupon Hit’s New Lows

Markets closed mixed on Wall Street today: Dow +0.02%, S&P -0.01%, Nasdaq -0.18%, Oil +0.73%, Gold -0.66%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) declined to $93.45 a barrel. Precious metals were mixed, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling to $1,602.00 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) rose 0.03% to settle at $27.79.

Here’s your Cheat Sheet to today’s top stock stories:

Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB) $1 billion acquisition of mobile photo-sharing app maker Instagram has been cleared by Britain’s Office of Fair Trading, even as the social network must wait on a decision from U.S. regulators. The British watchdog decided not to refer the deal to the U.K. Competition Commission, where it would have been subjected to a full investigation, according to the OFT.

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Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) will soon be licensing its new BlackBerry 10 operating system to other manufacturers, according to a report on Monday. The new platform is now in the final stages of testing, CEO Thorsten Heins told Bloomberg News, and RIM is considering how other companies may be able to use it in a range of products, as companies including SamsungNokia (NYSE:NOK), and LG have done with Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform.

Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ:GRPN) hit a record low on Tuesday and was the tech sector’s leader for declines. The company reported disappointing earnings results. Two brokerage firms downgraded Groupon to a “Hold,” including Citigroup’s Mark Mahaney, who wrote that “the core daily-deal business is sharply slowing.”

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Estee Lauder Cos.’ (NYSE:EL) shares rose 10 percent in afternoon trading after it saw its fiscal fourth-quarter profits increase 25 percent. For the day, the stock was tops for increases on the S&P 500 Index.

Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. (NYSE:KORS) reported total revenue jumped 71 percent in its fiscal first-quarter report as compared to the previous year.  The company saw growth in comparable store sales jump 38 percent in North America and 24 percent in Europe amid the euro zone’s debt crisis. The stock closed up 16.48 percent on Tuesday and year-to-date, it’s up 81 percent.

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