Stock market news

Morning Market News 

Stocks that are expected to trade actively in U.S. markets on Friday include: General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD), The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX), Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL), Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG), International Business Machines Corp (NYSE:IBM), The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA), Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA), Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI), Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISRG), Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX) and SeaWorld Entertainment Inc (NYSE:SEAS).

Market Levels

•    US:  Dow Futures: 14451.00.00 (0.28%), S&P 500 Futures: 1540.20 (0.40%), NASDAQ Futures: 2752.50 (0.47%)
•    Europe: CAC: 3633.74 (0.95%), DAX: 7467.06 (-0.09%), FTSE: 6261.92 (0.29%)
•    Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4931.90 (0.15%), China: 2244.64 (2.10%), Hong Kong: 22013.57 (2.28%), India: 5783.10 (1.66%), Japan: 13316.48 (0.72%).
•    Metals: Gold: 1405.20 (0.91%), Silver: 23.37 (0.54%), Copper: 3.16 (-1.40%)
•    Energy: Crude Oil: 88.12 (0.44%), Natural Gas: 4.40 (0.01%)
•    Commodities: Corn: 6.31 (-1.56%), Soya Bean: 13.89 (0.98%), Wheat: 7.03 (-0.04%)
•    Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3082 (0.24%), GBP/USD: 1.5324 (0.29%), USD/JPY: 99.1500 (1.01%)
•    10 year US Treasury: 1.697% (0.012)

Market and Economic News Update

U.S. stock-index futures up: U.S. stock-index futures are pointing to a higher open on Friday, following two straight days of losses, as investors assess another batch of corporate earnings. Investors will also focus on the two-day G-20 meeting currently taking place in Washington. No major economic data is scheduled for Friday.

European markets mostly higher: European markets are up in trade today, led by a rebound in mining and banking stocks. The German DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) is flat at 7467.06 points. The FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) added 0.3 percent to 6261.92 and the CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) jumped 1 percent to 3633.74 points. The euro zone blue-chip ESTX 50 PR.EUR (INDEXSTOXX:SX5E) (Euro Stoxx 50) was up 0.5 percent.

Asian markets rally: Asian markets reversed their losses to close higher on Friday after the Chinese central suggested that the Yuan’s trading band may be widened over the weekend. The NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) closed up 0.7 percent, while the S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index gave up gains made earlier in the session to finish 0.2 percent higher. The HANG SENG INDEX (INDEXHANGSENG:HIS) soared 2.3 percent to snap a five-day losing steak and the SSE Composite Index (SHA:000001) (Shanghai Composite Index) closed 2.1 percent higher.

Stocks to Watch

General Electric Company (NYSE:GE)

General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) reported a 16 percent rise in quarterly earnings, as it sold more oil and gas drilling equipment and offloaded its 49 percent stake in NBC Universal. The company posted first-quarter operating earnings of 39 cents per share, on revenue of $35 billion, against Street estimates of 35 cents per share on $34.6 billion in revenue. Total industrial sales fell 6 percent, while aviation sales increased 4 percent and transportation sales climbed 12 percent. http://www.valuewalk.com/2013/04/general-electric-company-ge-beats-the-street-european-sales-slump/

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) reported strong quarterly earnings, amid strength in its core advertising business, but revenue trailed estimates. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) posted first quarter earnings of $11.58 a share on sales of $13.97 billion against analysts’ expectations for $10.66 a share on revenue of $14.31 billion. The closely watched cost per click for advertisers dropped 4 percent from a year earlier, even though the number of paid clicks rose 3 percent over the year.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) posted third quarter earnings of 72 cents a share, 4 cents above the average analysts’ estimate, while revenue came in at $20.5 billion, matching expectations. In addition, the company said its Chief Financial Officer Peter Klein will step down at the end of the fiscal year, in June. Sales at Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Windows division rose 23 percent from a year ago to $5.7 billion. Last week, research firm IDC said global PC unit shipments fell 14 percent in the first three months of the year. Shares edged higher in morning trade.

McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD)

McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) reported lower than expected first-quarter profit as sales at established U.S. restaurants dropped 1.2 percent during the period. Net income rose to $1.27 billion, or $1.26 per share, from $1.267 billion, or $1.23 per share, in the year-ago period. Quarterly revenue increased to $6.61 billion from $6.55 billion a year earlier. Analysts had were expecting earnings per share of $1.26 on revenue of $6.59 billion. McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) expects global comparable sales to be slightly negative in April. Shares fell in pre-market trading.

The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX)

The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) has abandoned its efforts to acquire Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL), reports said late Thursday. The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) had been putting together a bid for Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) to trump the $24.4 billion offer from the company’s founder, Michael S. Dell, and Silver Lake Partners, a technology-focused private equity firm. The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) decided to walk away from the bidding after discovering that the personal computer maker’s business was deteriorating faster than what was previously understood, according to people familiar with the situation. The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) and Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) declined to comment.

International Business Machines Corp (NYSE:IBM)

International Business Machines Corp (NYSE:IBM) reported first quarter earnings excluding one-time items of $3 a share, 5 cents below the consensus estimate. Revenue came in at $23.41 billion, missing Street expectations for $24.62 billion. For the full-year, the company expects to see earnings of $16.77 a share, missing estimates. Shares declined in pre-market trading.

The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA)

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is expected to end its three-month grounding of The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA)’s 787 Dreamliner planes as early as Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported late yesterday. The FAA had grounded 787s in January after a battery fire in a Dreamliner parked in Boston. FAA administrator were satisfied that The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA)’s changes, including a new protective metal container, have made the plane’s lithium-ion batteries safe, the newspaper reported citing unnamed sources.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG)

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) reported better than expected quarterly earnings revenue, helped by the growth in new restaurants opening and a 1 percent rise in comparable restaurant sales. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) posted first quarter earnings of $2.45 on sales of $727 million, beating expectations for $2.13 a share on revenue of $725 million. In addition, the Denver-based burrito chain reaffirmed its full-year outlook for flat to low single-digit percentage sales growth at same-store restaurants. Shares soared in pre-market trading.

Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA), Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI)

Videogame stocks, including Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA) and Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) could be in focus today after market research firm NPD Group said sales of new videogame products in U.S. retail stores fell 10 percent in March to $992.5 million, from $1.1 billion in the same period last year. Hardware sales plunged 32 percent to $221.6 million, compared with the year ago period, while software sales for the current generation consoles dropped 1 percent to $554.8 million.

Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISRG)

Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISRG) posted first quarter earnings of $4.56 on sales of $611 million, easily beating expectations for $3.98 a share on revenue of $583 million. The company sold 164 da Vinci surgical robots in the quarter, up from 140 a year ago, but down from 175 in the previous quarter. In addition, Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISRG) reiterated its revenue guidance for the year, and said it expects to reach the top end of the 16-19 percent revenue growth it had earlier forecast. Shares fell in early trading.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX)

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX) reported positive results from a mid-stage study of its cystic fibrosis treatment, sending shares higher in pre-market trading. Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX) said cystic fibrosis patients who took the drug, known as VX-661, combined with an already approved treatment, ivacaftor, showed statistically significant improvements in lung function. Patients receiving the drug combination had a mean relative increase in lung function of between 7.5 percent and 9 percent after 28 days, compared with patients taking placebo.

 
SeaWorld Entertainment Inc (NYSE:SEAS)

The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX)-backed SeaWorld Entertainment Inc (NYSE:SEAS) will make its debut as a public company on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday. SeaWorld Entertainment Inc (NYSE:SEAS) priced its IPO of 26 million shares at $27 per share, the top of an expected range, valuing the Florida-based theme park operator at $2.5 billion.

Economic Calendar for Friday, April 19, 2013:

12:00 P.M. ET:    Federal Reserve Governor Jeremy Stein speaks.