US FINANCIAL MARKET
- Boeing has found a way to fix battery problems. “The gaps between cells will be bigger. I think that’s why there was overheating,” said the source, who declined to be identified because the plans are private.
- Office Depot agreed to buy OfficeMax in an all-stock deal (a total value of about $1.2 billion).
- Yahoo is renovating its homepage in an effort to get people to visit more frequently and linger for longer periods of time.
- Apple’s year-old iPhone, the iPhone 4S was the second best selling phone in the world during the fourth quarter, according to new data from research firm Strategy Analytics. Apple’s iPhone 5 was number one. Samsung’s Galaxy was number three.
- Apple declines after assembler Foxconn stops hiring. Foxconn halted recruitment until the end of March after more employees returned from the Chinese New Year break than a year earlier. Foxconn’s spokesman said that the decision wasn’t related to iPhone 5 production.
- Sales tax from Internet commerce is starting to arrive in California and a few other states. At the moment, Amazon is collecting sales tax in nine states including California, and will add seven more in the next year.
- General Mills backed its 2013 earnings forecast and said it plans to improve its profitability in the following fiscal year and return more cash to shareholders.
- Michael Kors sells shares in secondary offering.
- Dell earnings fall 31 percent in the fourth quarter as PC market stays weak, buyout looms.
- FedEx will incur a cash charge of $550 million to $650 million over the next two quarters. FedEx had offered a voluntary buyout program for its U.S.-based employees as part of its plan to save costs and improve profit by $1.7 billion over the next four years.
US ECONOMY & POLITICS
- Housing starts dropped by a larger than expected 8.5% in January. However, the decline was entirely accounted for with a fall in the more volatile multi-family starts category (-24.1%), while single-family units rose modestly (+0.8%).
- Some of the January decline was probably due to payback from the unusually warm weather in December, which likely boosted starts above seasonal winter norms.
- Overall, the trend in residential construction activity remains solidly positive. For all of 2012, builders started work on 780,000 homes. That was still only about half the annual number consistent with healthy markets. But it represents a 28 percent jump from 2011. And it was the most housing starts since 2008.
- Building permits rose by 1.8% in January. Permits increased for both the single-family (+1.9%) and multi-family (+1.5%) categories. Builders broke ground on houses at a 920,000 annual rate, down from December’s 954,000 pace that was the fastest since June 2008.
- Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell for a second straight week as both refinancing and loan requests for new mortgages eased last week.
- The January Producer Price Index (PPI) rose by 0.2% (month-over-month), slightly below consensus expectations of a 0.3% gain. The PPI continued to be pushed down by gasoline prices, which fell 2.1%. January’s report brings the year-over-year increase in the PPI to 1.4%. The core PPI also rose by 0.2%, in line with expectations, and consumer goods prices rose at the same rate. Core intermediate goods prices—generally a useful leading indicator for goods CPI inflation—rose 0.3% in January following an uptick of 0.3% in December, bringing the year-over-year growth to 0.7%.
EUROPE & WORLD
- Japan posts record $17.4B monthly trade deficit in January as rise in imports outpaces exports.
- China’s foreign direct investment fell for an eighth month in January: a sign that the recovery in China has yet to revive confidence among overseas companies.
- Euro zone consumer confidence rose in February.
- French industrial confidence climbed in February as executives looked to improving global demand to lift orders in the months ahead.
- U.K. jobless claims fell more than twice as much as forecast in January.
- Greece’s current account deficit narrowed last year to its lowest level since the country joined the euro. The gap narrowed by 73 percent in 2012 to 5.58 billion euros, helped by falling imports and lower interest payments.
TODAY in HISTORY
- President George Washington signed the Post Office Act, establishing a permanent Post Office Department (1792)
- The Supreme Court ruled the power of the federal government is greater than that of any individual state (1809)
- John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth three times in 4 hours, 55 minutes (1962)
Sources: Reuters, Yahoo Finance, Google Finance, Bloomberg, CNN Money.
This information has been prepared from sources believed to be reliable, but no representation is being made as to its accuracy or completeness. The information provided should be used only as general information and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. The economic forecasts set forth in the material may not develop as predicted. All indices, such as the S & P 500, are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.