Unexpected Misses and CEO Shuffles: Morning Buzzers

The markets were generally optimistic following news out of Europe that the central bank would keep interest rates at record lows of 0.75 percent. Initial unemployment claims in the U.S. edged very slightly downward, adding a dash of positive sentiment to a relatively flat Thursday morning.

U.S. futures at 8:50 a.m.: DJIA: +0.05%, S&P 500: +0.07%, NASDAQ: +0.22%.

Here’s what’s buzzing on Thursday morning:Man Measuring Money

Sprint (NYSE:S) faced selling pressure in the pre-market following its fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 results. The telecom company slightly widened its losses to a net $1.3 billion, or $0.44 per share, compared to $0.43 per share in the year-ago period. Also concerning was a net loss of 243,000 subscribers for the quarter, and a revenue bump to $8.72 billion that was shy of expectations. The results show earnings in the flagship wireless segment, but also highlights the massive cost of upgrading its network.

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Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU) simmered down to pre-market gains around 4 percent after surging as much as 7.6 percent on news that its CEO, Ben Verwaayen, will step down as soon as a replacement is found. The announcement comes following its fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 report, which revealed an annual net loss of 1.37 billion euros ($1.86 billion), or 0.61 euros ($0.83) per share. Shares of the telecom company have come down over 70 percent since Verwaayen took over, and his departure is being seen as a turn-around opportunity.

SonySony (NYSE:SNE) was off nearly 4 percent in pre-market trading after it reported fiscal third-quarter results. Japan’s largest consumer electronics company has reported losses for five consecutive years as competition and unfavorable market conditions erode its once-dominant position. The fiscal third-quarter loss is a particularly sore spot given the relative rally that export-heavy Japanese companies have enjoyed on the back of a weakening yen.

Bunge (NYSE:BG), a lightly-traded food and agriculture company that is enjoying 35 percent year-over-year gains on the stock chart, announced that its CEO Alberto Weisser will retire effective June 1, to be succeeded by Soren Schroder, currently CEO of the North America unit. The announcement came concurrently with the company’s fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 results, which showed record annual revenue and high expectations for 2013.

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