Stock market news

Morning Market News 

Stocks that are expected to trade actively in U.S. markets on Wednesday include: Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG), Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM), General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX), Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM), Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC), Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), Juniper Networks, Inc. (NYSE:JNPR) and Opko Health Inc. (NYSE:OPK).

Market Levels

•    US:  Dow Futures: 14656.00 (0.08%), S&P 500 Futures: 1574.40 (0.05%), NASDAQ Futures: 2821.00 (-0.07%)
•    Europe: CAC: 3816.29 (0.87%), DAX: 7706.49 (0.63%), FTSE: 6420.06 (0.22%)
•    Asia-Pacific: Australia: 5102.04 (1.72%), China: 2218.32 (1.52%), Hong Kong: 22183.05 (1.70%), India: 5836.90 (0.00%), Japan: 13843.46 (2.27%).
•    Metals: Gold: 1429.40 (1.47%), Silver: 23.12 (1.35%), Copper: 3.14 (1.63%)
•    Energy: Crude Oil: 89.37 (0.21%), Natural Gas: 4.25 (0.19%)
•    Commodities: Corn: 6.16 (-1.44%), Soya Bean: 13.58 (-0.51%), Wheat: 6.96 (-0.93%)
•    Currency: EUR/USD: 1.2986 (-0.08%), GBP/USD: 1.5261 (0.14%), USD/JPY: 99.4400 (-0.04%)
•    10 year US Treasury: 1.704% (-0.003)

Market and Economic News Update

U.S. stock-index futures largely unchanged: U.S. stock-index futures gave up gains made earlier in the session and are pointing to a flat open on Wednesday, following a weaker-than-expected durable goods orders report. Durable goods orders witnessed their steepest drop in seven months, falling 5.7 percent in March, the Commerce Department said today. Economists were expecting orders to drop 2.8 percent from a previously reported 5.6 percent increase.

European markets rise: European markets gained in trade, but are off the day’s highs after German business sentiment data came in weaker than expected. Germany’s Ifo Business Climate index stood at 104.4 for April against expectations for a reading of 106.2. The German DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) is up 0.6 percent at 7706.49 points. The FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) added 0.2 percent to 6420.06 and the CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) surged 0.9 percent to 3816.29 points. The euro zone blue-chip ESTX 50 PR.EUR (INDEXSTOXX:SX5E) (Euro Stoxx 50) was up 0.7 percent.

Asian markets rally: Asian markets closed at fresh highs on Wednesday, buoyed by strong overnight cues from the Wall Street. The NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) jumped to a near five-year high at 13843.46 points, while the S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index soared 1.7 percent to hit a one-month high. The HANG SENG INDEX (INDEXHANGSENG:HIS) and the SSE Composite Index (SHA:000001) (Shanghai Composite Index) also ended strong, erasing losses made in the previous session.

Stocks to Watch

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) posted first quarter earnings of $10.09 a share on sales of $43.60 billion, exceeding Street expectations for $10 a share on revenue of $42.31 billion. Shares turned lower after the iPhone maker handed in third-quarter revenue outlook that fell short of expectations. In addition, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) increased its share repurchase program to $60 billion and raised its quarterly dividend by 15 percent.

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) earned 41 cents per share in the first three months of the year, four cents above estimates. Revenue jumped to $35.8 billion from $32.4 billion a year ago, also topping expectations for $33.78 billion. Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) recorded its best ever quarter in North America, although its European losses widened. Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) expects to lose up to $2 billion this year in Europe, reflecting the recession’s impact on consumer demand for new cars and trucks. Shares were down in pre-market trading following the results.

The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG)

The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) reported fiscal third quarter profit excluding certain items of 99 cents per share, three cents above estimates. But shares fell in pre-market trading after The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) issued a weak current quarter earnings outlook. Under CEO Bob McDonald, the world’s largest consumer product maker is cutting costs and ramping up innovation to offset a growth slowdown in China and a weakened European economy.

Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM)

Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM) retained the top spot in global auto sales during the first quarter, selling 2.43 million vehicles. General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) was second at 2.36 million vehicles, followed by Volkswagen AG (ETR:VOW) (FRA:VOW) of Germany at 2.27 million vehicles. General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) had been the top-selling automaker for seven straight decades before losing that title to Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM) in 2008.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T)

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) posted first quarter earnings of 64 cents a share, in line with estimates, on revenue of $31.36 billion, trailing Street expectations for $31.75 billion. AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) added 296,000 subscribers during the period compared with Wall Street expectations for just about 195,000 new subscribers. Last week, rival Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) had disclosed that it added 677,000 contract customers in the same period. AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) slashed its capital spending expectations for 2014 and 2015 to $20 billion per year from its earlier projection of $22 billion. Shares plunged in early trade.

FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX)

FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX) has signed a new seven year express air transportation agreement with the United States Postal Service worth about $10.5 billion. The contract calls for FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX) to fly Express and Priority mail between U.S. airports. FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX), which has been flying for the Postal Service for 12 years, was in race with rival United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS), to secure the business. Shares rose 1.4 percent to $94.49 yesterday in early hours trading.

Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM)

Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM), the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell reported first quarter earnings, excluding one-time items of 70 cents, beating expectations for 60 cents a share, on sales of $2.54 billion that trailed estimates of $2.56 billion. Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) reiterated its full-year earnings outlook. Shares rallied, despite the company warning that a new strain of bird flu in China was damaging sales already down due to a food safety controversy.

Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC)

Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) raised its quarterly dividend by 20 percent to 30 cents a share from 25 cents a share. The dividend is payable June 1 to shareholders of record on May 10. The dividend increase was approved by the Federal Reserve in March, after Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) passed its annual “stress test.” Shares were largely unchanged in pre-market trading.

Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN)

Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) reported first quarter earnings of $1.96 a share on revenue of $4.2 billion, compared to analysts’ expectations for earnings of $1.84 a share on revenue of $4.37 billion. Sales of most of its biggest selling drugs, including rheumatoid arthritis drug Enbrel and anemia drug Aranesp, disappointed Wall Street. In addition, the company said it now expects full-year earnings per share to be above the midpoint of its previously announced forecast. Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) shares tumbled in early morning trade.

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has acquired Seattle-based natural language processing startup Wavii for about $30 million in cash. Wavii, founded by former Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) manager Adrian Aoun, is a free news aggregator app and is available for iOS devices only. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s acquisition comes weeks after Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) paid a similar amount to acquire rival news reader Summly.

Juniper Networks, Inc. (NYSE:JNPR)

Juniper Networks, Inc. (NYSE:JNPR)’s first-quarter net income jumped more than five-fold, but the networking equipment manufacturer forecast current quarter profit and sales below analyst expectations, sending shares lower in pre-market trading. Juniper Networks, Inc. (NYSE:JNPR) posted first quarter profit excluding some items of 24 cents per share, 2 cents above the average analysts’ estimate. Revenue was slightly lower-than-expected at $1.06 billion versus estimates for $1.07 billion.

Opko Health Inc. (NYSE:OPK)

Opko Health Inc. (NYSE:OPK) has agreed to acquire Israel-based PROLOR Biotech Inc (NYSEAMEX:PBTH) in an all-stock deal worth $480 million, according to a Reuters report. Under the terms of the deal, expected to close during the second half of 2013, PROLOR Biotech Inc (NYSEAMEX:PBTH) shareholders will receive 0.9951 shares of Opko Health Inc. (NYSE:OPK) for each share of PROLOR Biotech Inc (NYSEAMEX:PBTH) common stock. Shares of Opko Health Inc. (NYSE:OPK) fell following the announcement.

Economic Calendar for Wednesday, April 24, 2013:

07:00 A.M. ET:   MBA Purchase Applications (Week ending Friday, April 19)
08:30 A.M. ET:   Durable Goods Orders (March)
08:55 A.M. ET:   Durable Goods Orders ex-Transportation (March)
10:30 A.M. ET:   EIA Petroleum Status Report (Week ending Friday, April 19)
01:00 P.M. ET:    5-Yr Note Auction