Morning Market Update
- US: Dow Futures: 13375.00 (-0.28%), S&P 500 Futures: 1435.40 (-0.03%), NASDAQ Futures: 2738.25 (0.16%)
- Europe: CAC: 3375.29 (-0.22%), DAX: 7221.08 (-0.19%), FTSE: 5785.87 (-0.42%).
- Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4490.70 (-0.32%), China: 2119.94 (0.22%), Hong Kong: 20919.60 (-0.08%), India: 5652.15 (-0.92%), Japan: 8596.23 (-2.02%).
- Metals: Gold: 1768.80 (0.22%), Silver: 34.04 (0.15%), Copper: 3.72 (-0.05%)
- Energy: Crude Oil: 92.45 (0.06%), Natural Gas: 3.48 (0.46%)
- Commodities: Corn: 7.41 (-0.10%), Soya Bean: 15.43 (-0.08%), Wheat: 8.67 (0.49%)
- Currency: EUR/USD: 1.2884 (-0.01%), GBP/USD: 1.6010 (0.04%), USD/JPY: 78.3500 (0.13%)
- 10 year US Treasury: 1.771% (0.044)
Financial and Economic News Update
U.S. stock-index futures trading mixed: U.S. stock-index futures are pointing to a mixed open on Wednesday as investors weighed earnings reports amid concern about sluggish global growth. Late Tuesday, aluminum producer Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA) cut its outlook for global demand of the metal. The Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ are struggling to find direction.
European markets in the red: European markets are trading lower on Wednesday with the German DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) down 0.2 percent at 7221.08, the FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) losing 0.4 percent to 5785.87 and the CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) giving up 0.2 percent to 3375.29. The euro zone blue-chip ESTX 50 PR.EUR (INDEXSTOXX:SX5E) (Euro Stoxx 50) edged 0.3 percent lower.
Asian markets end mostly lower: Asian markets closed lower on Wednesday amid concerns about flagging global economic growth. The HANG SENG INDEX (INDEXHANGSENG:HIS) ended down 0.1 percent, while the SSE Composite Index (SHA:000001) (Shanghai Composite Index) rose 0.2 percent. Japan’s NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) lost 2 percent to hit a two-month closing low on Wednesday. The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index fell 14.7 points to 4,490.7. The benchmark Indian 30-share BSE SENSITIVE (INDEXBOM:SENSEX) index slid 0.92 percent.
Company News Update
- Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) said fourth quarter profit jumped 27 percent to $609 million, or $1.39 per share, from $478 million, or $1.08 per share a year earlier. Analysts were expecting a profit of $1.31 per share. Sales rose 14 percent to $31.52 billion, while same-store sales increased 5 percent.
- FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX) plans to cut costs at its Fedex Express business, as it looks to nearly double its annual profit over the next three years, chief executive Fred Smith said on Tuesday.
- Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN) launched a new iPad-based payment service called Breadcrumb across the United States on Wednesday. Breadcrumb was founded by Seth Harris, and Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN) acquired the business in May.
- Cummins Inc. (NYSE:CMI) lowered its full-year profit and revenue outlook and unveiled plans to cut as many as 1,500 jobs by the end of 2012, as the engine maker looks to cut costs amid a weakening global economy.
- Perrigo Company (NASDAQ:PRGO) has received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to market its over-the-counter nicotine polacrilex mini lozenge.
- Denim maker True Religion Apparel, Inc. (NASDAQ:TRLG) is considering a possible sale of the company, after receiving indications of interest from third parties, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
- Industrial and medical conglomerate Danaher Corporation (NYSE:DHR) and electrical products maker Cooper Industries plc (NYSE:CBE) agreed to sell their hand and power tools joint venture, Apex Tool Group, to private equity firm Bain Capital LLC, for about $1.6 billion.
- Toronto-based AuRico Gold Inc (USA) (NYSE:AUQ) (TSE:AUQ) has agreed to sell its Ocampo mine in Mexico and other assets to Carlos Slim’s Minera Frisco SAB for $750 million.
- Networking and communications equipment provider Adtran, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADTN) reported third quarter adjusted earnings of 20 cents per share that beat the average analysts’ estimate of 19 cents per share. Sales for the period came in at $162.12 million, trailing estimates of $171.55 million.
- Private equity firm The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) raised $13.3 billion for its Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII fund in the last 13 months.
- House wares and personal-care products company Helen of Troy Limited (NASDAQ:HELE) reported second quarter profit of $23 million, or 72 cents a share, down from $23.6 million, or 74 cents, in the year-ago period. Analysts had forecast earnings of 85 cents a share.
- Host Hotels and Resorts Inc (NYSE:HST) reported third quarter loss of $34 million compared with a year-earlier loss of $33 million. Revenue for the period increased 6.5 percent to $1.2 billion. The real-estate investment trust said funds from operations climbed 12 percent to $127 million, or 17 cents per share, from $113 million, or 16 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.
- eGain Communications Corporation (NASDAQ:EGAN) said it expects first-quarter revenue to be between $10 million to $10.5 million that will be below Wall Street’s expectations of $10.8 million.
- Dynamic Materials Corporation (NASDAQ:BOOM) said Kevin Longe will succeed Yvon Cariou as president and chief executive officer, effective March 1.
- The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD) fell close to a percent in early morning trade after Oppenheimer downgraded the stock to “perform” from “market perform.”
- Bernstein has lowered Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB) to “underperform” from “market perform.”
- Monster Beverage Corp (NASDAQ:MNST) tumbled 4.8 percent in pre-market trading after Stifel Nicolaus cut the beverage maker’s shares to “hold” from “buy,” citing a deceleration in sales.
- Talks over a merger between EADS NV (EPA:EAD) and BAE Systems plc (LON:BA) collapsed on Wednesday after last-ditch efforts to resolve a political impasse between the UK, French and German governments failed.
- Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:VOD) (LON:VOD) may win a reprieve in a $2.2 billion Indian tax case after a government appointed panel suggested that the country scrap a law that taxes asset transfers retrospectively.
- Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) withdrew as a lead banker for Russian mobile phone operator, MegaFon’s initial public offering in Moscow and London due to corporate governance concerns.
- U.K. bank Lloyds Banking Group PLC (ADR) (NYSE:LYG) (LON:LLOY) jumped 3.5 percent in London amid reports that it was close to offloading about 2 billion euros ($2.6 billion) of Irish real estate loans.
- European Union antitrust regulators are likely to tell United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS) that its 5.2 billion euro ($257.92 million) takeover bid for Dutch delivery group, TNT Express NV (AMS:TNTE) is anti-competitive, according to a report in The Financial Times.
- Man Group Plc (LON:EMG) rallied 2.8 percent in London after British media speculated the hedge fund manager may be a takeover target.
- Dutch brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (ADR) (NYSE:BUD) (EBR:ABI) slumped the most in a month after a report said that the U.S. government may block its $20 billion takeover of Mexico’s Grupo Modelo SAB de CV.
- GlaxoSmithKline plc (ADR) (NYSE:GSK) (LON:GSK)’s vaccines division has teamed up with non-profit biotech group Aeras to jointly assess an experimental tuberculosis vaccine.
- Medical equipment manufacturer Smith & Nephew plc (ADR) (NYSE:SNN) (LON:SN) tumbled 2.5 percent in London trading after analysts at Societe Generale initiated coverage of the stock with a sell recommendation.
- French car maker Peugeot SA (EPA:UG) fell 1.7 percent after receiving a downgrade from credit ratings agency Moody’s.
- Japanese auto giant Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE:TM) (TYO:7203) will recall 7.4 million vehicles globally, including 2.47 million cars and light trucks sold in the U.S., to fix malfunctioning power window switches, the company said on Wednesday.
- The Canadian