US FINANCIAL MARKET
- Visa quarterly profit beat analysts’ estimates for the ninth consecutive quarter as credit, debit, and transactions grew at the world’s largest payments network. Visa’s profit rose 25% in the first quarter, boosted by payment volumes (excluding a tax benefit). Revenue rose nearly 12%. Visa’s purchase volumes grew 9% to $1.1 trillion in the first quarter.
- Sprint, the country’s third largest wireless carrier, said it lost $1.3 billion in its fourth quarter, about the same as a year ago, as it revamped its network for a comeback versus bigger competitors. The loss was slightly smaller than analysts had predicted. Revenue was $9 billion, up 3.2% from a year ago as customers converted from regular phones to higher-paying smartphone. Sprint activated 2.2 million iPhones in the quarter, a record for the company. Sprint is selling 70% of itself to Japanese carrier Softbank Corp. for $20 billion.
- Vodafone revenue dropped 2% in the third quarter due to tougher competition, a weak economy, and regulatory changes at home and abroad.
- French drug maker Sanofi net profit was more than halved in the fourth quarter from a year earlier as mounting restructuring costs and patent losses on key drugs combined to hammer earnings. Sanofi warned its core earnings per share could fall up to 5% this year, after a 12.8% drop in 2012.
- News Corp reported higher quarterly revenue and profit on strong growth. The Wall Street Journal, Fox Network, and film studio Twentieth Century Fox are among few global assets that News Corp owns.
- Retails post strong January sales at stores open at least a year:
- Gap’s January revenue rose 8%. Analysts had expected a 1.7%.
- Macy’s January revenue rose 11.7% in January. Macy’s is also raising its fourth-quarter adjusted earnings forecast.
- Limited Brands, operator of Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, January revenue rose 9%. Analysts had expected a 3.7%.
- Target January revenue rose 3.1%. Analysts had expected a 1.7%.
- Costco’s January revenue rose 4%. Analysts had expected a 3.9%. Costco currently operates 622 warehouses, including 448 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 85 in Canada, 32 in Mexico, 23 in the United Kingdom, 13 in Japan, nine in Taiwan, nine in Korea and three in Australia.
US ECONOMY & POLITICS
- Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped by 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 366,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The four-week moving average for new claims dropped 2,250 to 350,500, the lowest level since March 2008.
- U.S. worker productivity contracted at an annual rate of 2% in the October-December quarter, the biggest drop since the first quarter of 2011, the Labor Department reported. Productivity is the amount of output per hour of work. It shrank in the fourth quarter because economic activity contracted while hours worked rose. The economy declined at an annual rate of 0.1% in the last quarter of 2012, a drop caused mainly by deep defense cuts and slower restocking, changes not expected to last.
EUROPE & WORLD
- European Union leaders begin two days of talks on the 2014-2020 budget, which will assign nearly 1 trillion euros of spending.
- The ECB keeps rates on hold at record low, at 0.75%.
- Industrial production in Germany rose 0.3% in December, not enough to significantly help Europe’s largest economy as it ended the year on a soft note.
- India’s government has forecast a slowdown in economic growth to 5% in the fiscal year ending in March, down from 6.2% growth in the previous year, the worst performance in a decade for Asia’s third-largest economy.
TODAY in HISTORY
- The 11th Amendment to the Constitution (Judicial power of United States not to extend to suits against a state) was ratified (1795)
- The Beatles arrived in the U.S. for the first time (1964)
- The Communist Party of the Soviet Union allowed other parties to compete for power (1990)
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.