Wall Street Watch: Greece’s Debt Drama, LinkedIn and NYSE Earnings

The Greek debt drama continues one day after Greece Prime Minister Lucas Papademos and his coalition government reached an agreement. Now European finance minister have listed conditions that the country has to meet before it can receive another round of bailout funds. Without them, the country will be unable to make a EUR 14.5 billion ($19 billion) in March. The country has asked for additional austerity measures and on Sunday, the Greek Parliament is expected to vote on the aid package.

In December, the trade deficit expanded to a six-month high, according to the Commerce Department. The number widened 3.7 percent to $48.8 billion, up from November’s $47.1 billion. This is the greatest increase since June and it’s been attributed to the economy’s pickup from additional imported goods. For the year, the U.S. trade deficit was $558 billion, an 11.6 percent rise from 2010.

NYSE Euronext (NYSE:NYX) reported its fourth quarter earnings on Friday morning. The exchange’s net profit almost dropped 19 percent to $110 million from the previous year’s $135 million. This decline came from pre-tax merger expenses and a tax settlement charge, according to MarketWatch. NYSE Euronext’s fourth-quarter revenue increased to $628 million, up from $613 million in the previous year. Look ahead with a two-year plan for the exchange, it will focus on decreasing expenses, returning capital to shareholders and extending its electronic trading services.

LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) reported strong fourth quarter earnings and a 2012 guidance. Investors responded by driving up the stock’s price.  Analyst Michael Graham from Canaccord Genuity was impressed by the numbers and increased full year estimates by raising his price target to $95.  He wrote in a note, “LinkedIn takes another step on the path toward becoming the default global hiring solution.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Debbie Baratz at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com