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Stocks that were in focus in U.S. trading on Tuesday include: Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA), AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON), The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA), GameStop Corp. (NYSE:GME), The Medicines Company (NASDAQ:MDCO), KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE:KKR), Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV), Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL), Signet Jewelers Ltd. (NYSE:SIG), Acuity Brands, Inc. (NYSE:AYI), Fusion-IO, Inc. (NYSE:FIO) and Cypress Semiconductor Corporation (NASDAQ:CY).

Market Levels

•    US:  Dow: 13328.80 (-0.41%), S&P 500: 1454.61 (-0.50%), NASDAQ: 3091.81 (-0.23%)
•    Europe: CAC: 3705.88 (0.03%), DAX: 7695.83 (-0.48%), FTSE: 6053.63 (-0.18%)
•    Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4690.20 (-0.57%), China: 2276.07 (-0.41%), Hong Kong: 23111.19 (-0.95%), India: 6001.70 (0.22%), Japan: 10508.06 (-0.87%).
•    Metals: Gold: 1662.20 (0.97%), Silver: 30.46 (1.27%), Copper: 3.67 (-0.16%)
•    Energy: Crude Oil: 93.15 (-0.04%), Natural Gas: 3.22 (-1.47%)
•    Commodities: Corn: 6.88 (0.47%), Soya Bean: 13.85 (-0.22%), Wheat: 7.50 (-0.10%)
•    Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.3082 (-0.13%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6057 (0.08%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 87.0750 (-1.23%)
•    10 year US Treasury: 1.864% (-0.034)

Market and Economy News Update

U.S. markets end lower: U.S. markets finished lower for the second consecutive session on Tuesday, as investors await the start of what is expected to be a weak fourth-quarter earnings season. On the economic front, consumer credit gained for the fourth straight month in November, rising by $16.05 billion, according to the Federal Reserve. Economists had projected consumer credit rising $12.75 billion last month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) dropped 55.44 points, or 0.4 percent, to 13,328.85, and the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) fell 4.74 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,457.15. The NASDAQComposite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) dipped 7.01 points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,091.81.

Oil prices decline: Oil prices fell on Tuesday as traders weighed expectations for a sizable increase in weekly crude stockpiles. Crude oil for February delivery lost 4 cents to settle at $93.15 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for February settlement rose 0.7 percent to $112.16 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Stocks in Focus

Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA)

Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA) reported fourth quarter adjusted earnings of 6 cents a share, in line with estimates, on revenue of $5.9 billion that topped street expectations for $5.6 billion. Pittsburgh-based Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA), the largest U.S. aluminum producer, said it expects global demand for the metal to rise 7 percent in 2013. Shares of Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA) jumped in extended hours trading.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T)

Shares of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) declined on Tuesday despite the wireless communications company reporting record smartphone sales in the fourth quarter. AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) said it sold more than 10 million smartphones in the fourth quarter, topping its previous record of 9.4 million set in the same period a year earlier. AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is planning to report its fourth-quarter numbers after the close of trading on January 24.

Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON)

Agricultural giant Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) rallied in trade after reporting better-than-expected quarterly results and boosting its earnings outlook for fiscal 2013. Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) reported fiscal first quarter profit of $339 million, or 63 cents a share, up from $126 million, or 23 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding items, earnings in the latest quarter stood at 62 cents a share. Sales jumped 21 percent to $2.94 billion. Analysts were expecting a per-share profit of 37 cents on $2.64 billion in revenue. Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) also said adjusted full-year earnings will be between $4.30 and $4.40 a share, up from an earlier forecast of $4.18 to $4.32.

The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA)

The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) slumped 2.6 percent after a Japan Airlines 787 Dreamliner aircraft, headed from Boston to Tokyo with 178 passengers on board, returned to its terminal gate prior to take-off at Logan International Airport, following a fuel leak. The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) said it was aware of the issue and was working with Japan Airlines. The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) shares closed at $74.13 on Tuesday.

GameStop Corp. (NYSE:GME)

GameStop Corp. (NYSE:GME) moved lower after the videogame retailer said it expects to post a decline in fourth quarter same-store sales due to a weak holiday season. GameStop Corp. (NYSE:GME) said it now expects fourth-quarter same-store sales to fall 4 percent to 7 percent, compared to an earlier forecast ranging from an increase of 1 percent to a decline of 7 percent. GameStop Corp. (NYSE:GME) also warned that quarterly earnings will come in at the bottom end of it’s previously forecast range.

The Medicines Company (NASDAQ:MDCO)

Shares of The Medicines Company (NASDAQ:MDCO) soared in trade after the company announced positive results for a late-stage study of one of its drugs. The Medicines Company (NASDAQ:MDCO) its experimental anti-clotting drug, generically called cangrelor, met the main goal in a Phase 3 trial. The Medicines Company (NASDAQ:MDCO) expects to submit data from the study for regulatory review in the United States and European Union in 2013.


KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE:KKR) has agreed to make a $40 million follow-on investment in Singapore-listed water treatment and recycling company United Envirotech Ltd. (SGX:U19), Reuters reported on Tuesday. Proceeds from KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE:KKR)’s investment will be used to fund the acquisition of water treatment plants, upgrading of existing plants and increasing working capital, UEL said in a statement. Last month, KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE:KKR) had formed a partnership United Water, a subsidiary of France’s Suez Environnement Company SA (EPA:SEV) to operate a water and wastewater system in Bayonne, New Jersey.

Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV)

Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV) said consolidated traffic fell 0.2 percent in December from a year earlier, as its load factor slipped. Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV)’s capacity edged 0.2 percent higher to 10.48 billion available seat miles from a year ago, while load factor dipped to 78 percent from 78.4 percent. Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV) shares rose 1.1 percent to close at $11.03 on Tuesday.

Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL)

Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) moved lower after predicting downbeat 2013 earnings. Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) said it expects 2013 adjusted earnings of between $3.38 and $3.48 a share, below consensus estimates of $3.64 a share. Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) also said that the acquisition of Champion Technologies, which was expected to close by year end 2012, was likely to close in early 2013.

Signet Jewelers Ltd. (NYSE:SIG)

Signet Jewelers Ltd. (NYSE:SIG) shares hit their highest point in nearly 22 years after reporting strong holiday sales. Signet Jewelers Ltd. (NYSE:SIG) said same-store sales increased 3.3 percent for the nine weeks through December 29. Signet Jewelers also provided fiscal year forecast, in line with Wall Street analysts’ expectations. Citi analyst Oliver Chen reiterated his “Buy” rating on Signet Jewelers Ltd. (NYSE:SIG), with a target price of $62 on its stock.

Acuity Brands, Inc. (NYSE:AYI)

Acuity Brands, Inc. (NYSE:AYI) said first quarter net income fell 13 percent due to costs related to the closing of a plant and weak demand in the construction market. Excluding items, earnings came in at 69 cents per share, missing the average analysts’ estimate of 81 cents per share. Revenue increased 1 percent to $481.1 million, but missed Street expectations for $499 million. Looking ahead, Acuity Brands, Inc. (NYSE:AYI) CEO Vernon Nagel said the company expects “inconsistent” demand to continue in the current quarter, but hopes for “more stable” demand in spring and summer. Shares of Acuity Brands, Inc. (NYSE:AYI) shed 5.1 percent to $65.46.

Fusion-IO, Inc. (NYSE:FIO)

Shares of Fusion-IO, Inc. (NYSE:FIO) plunged 10 percent following a downgrade by an analyst at William Blair. Jason Ader cut his rating on Fusion-IO, Inc. (NYSE:FIO) to “market perform” from “outperform,” citing slower-than-expected bookings for the data-storage company. Ader expects Fusion-IO, Inc. (NYSE:FIO) to report December quarter numbers in line with Wall Street analysts’ forecasts, but said consensus estimates for the second half of fiscal 2013 were aggressive.

Cypress Semiconductor Corporation (NASDAQ:CY)

Cypress Semiconductor Corporation (NASDAQ:CY) said fourth-quarter results are expected to fall short of Street expectations as the slowdown in semiconductor demand continues. Cypress Semiconductor Corporation (NASDAQ:CY) projected fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of 3 cents to 4 cents a share on revenue between $177 million and $179 million. Analysts were expecting the chipmaker to earn 14 cents a share on $193 million in revenue. Shares of Cypress Semiconductor Corporation (NASDAQ:CY) dropped 8.4 percent to $10.12.