US FINANCIAL MARKET
- U.S. stocks opened little changed on Wednesday as corporate earnings provided investors with little reason to buy in a stock market that has been unable to find its footing after a strong rally last year.
- Shares of IBM weighed down the Dow after the world’s biggest technology services company missed revenue expectations for the fourth consecutive quarter as it grappled with weakening demand for its servers and storage equipment, particularly in growth markets like China.
- Revenue for the quarter ended December 31 fell 5 % to $27.7 billion, missing analysts expectation of $28.25 billion. IBM’s total revenues fell 2 % to $99.8 billion for the year.
- Net income for the fourth quarter rose to $6.2 billion from $5.8 billion a year earlier, beating estimates.
- Norfolk Southern posted a 24 % rise in quarterly income that beat Wall Street expectations as demand for shipments like chemicals, construction materials and automobiles more than offset a dip in coal volumes. For the fourth quarter, Norfolk Southern earned $513 million up from the $413 million it earned last year. Revenue came in at $2.9 billion, up 7 %.
- United Technologies, the world’s largest maker of elevators and air conditioners, reported a rise in fourth-quarter profit that topped estimates.
- Total revenue at United Technologies, which also produces Pratt & Whitney jet engines and Black Hawk helicopters, rose 1.9 % to $16.76 billion. That was about $330 million short of analysts’ expectations.
- Coach’s sales in North America during the key holiday quarter fell more than the handbag maker had forecast. Shares were down 7.7 % at the open at $48.50. Between 2011 and 2012, Coach’s share of the U.S. handbag market fell to 17.5 % from 19 %. Coach’s overall revenue fell 5.6 % to $1.42 billion, in the quarter, while net income dropped to $297.4 million from $352.8 million a year earlier.
- Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices forecast a steeper-than-expected fall in current quarter revenue, signaling that sales of gaming consoles were not growing fast enough to offset slowing PC sales. Shares of the company were down about 11 % after the bell.
- Cloud software maker VMWare said it would buy privately held mobile security company AirWatch in a deal valued at about $1.54 billion to tap into rising demand for software security.
- Amazon has approached U.S. media companies to acquire rights for an online pay-television service. The service would expand on the Web retailer’s Prime Instant Video subscription service by offering live programming similar to traditional pay-TV providers. Sony this month said it will offer an online service. Verizon said yesterday it will introduce a nationwide plan with technology acquired from Intel. Services from Sony, Verizon and Amazon would compete directly with traditional pay-TV. That could in turn prompt companies such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable and AT&T.
- Canada’s Bombardier said on Tuesday it will cut 1,700 aerospace jobs, or more than 4 % of the unit’s staff, as it pushes to preserve cash after costly setbacks in the development of two new jets.
- Target said it will stop offering health coverage to part-time workers. Less than 10 % of the company’s 361,000 employees currently participate in the insurance plan that is being discontinued.
- MasterCard’s 10-for-1 stock split goes into effect today.
- According to Thomson Reuters data, companies around the world held almost $7 trillion of cash and equivalents on their balance sheets at the end of 2013 – more than twice the level of 10 years ago.
- Capital expenditure relative to sales is at a 22-year low and some strategists reckon the typical age of fixed assets and equipment has been stretched to as much as 14 years from pre-crisis norms of about 9 years.
- PIMCO’s CEO Mohamed El–Erian, widely viewed as the successor to Bill Gross, resigned after six years as the firm struggles to stem record redemptions from the world’s largest bond fund.
US ECONOMY & POLITICS
- The northeastern United States on Wednesday dug out from a storm that dumped more than 15 inches of snow in some places with frigid, windy weather closing some schools and offices and delaying or canceling thousands of flights.
EUROPE & WORLD
- British unemployment plunged to within a whisker of the Bank of England’s level for considering an increase in interest rates. The unemployment rate dropped to 7.1 %, down from a previous level of 7.4 %, in the three months to November, a fraction above the 7 % level which the bank has said is its threshold for thinking about raising interest rates from their current all-time low of 0.5 %.
- The worst of Europe’s debt crisis is over in the eyes of most international investors. Fifty-seven % of the investors, analysts and traders who are Bloomberg subscribers said that Europe’s bond markets have ceased deteriorating.
TODAY in HISTORY
- Queen Victoria of England died after reigning for 63 years (the 4th longest among longest-reigning monarchs and the longest for queens) (1901)
- The U.S. Senate confirmed Madeleine Albright as the first female secretary of state (1997)
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.