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Morning News: MS, VZ, PM, TRV, UNP, NOK, BX, BBT, SNA, BAX, KEY, DHR

Morning News: MS, VZ, PM, TRV, UNP, NOK, BX, BBT, SNA, BAX, KEY, DHR

Every morning we put out a news report with the latest news in global stock markets, company news, and global economic news.

Morning Market Update

Market Levels

 * US: Dow Futures: 13480.00 (-0.07%), S&P 500 Futures: 1452.60 (-0.31%), NASDAQ Futures: 2757.75 (-0.46%)

* Europe: CAC: 3510.83 (-0.47%), DAX: 7403.99 (0.13%), FTSE: 5901.24 (-0.16%).

* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4559.40 (0.69%), China: 2131.69 (1.22%), Hong Kong: 21518.71 (0.47%), India: 5718.70 (1.03%), Japan: 8982.86 (1.96%).

* Metals: Gold: 1742.20 (-0.62%), Silver: 32.86 (-1.12%), Copper: 3.74 (-0.24%)

* Energy: Crude Oil: 91.46 (-0.72%), Natural Gas: 3.46 (-0.14%)

* Commodities: Corn: 7.49 (0.91%), Soya Bean: 15.24 (1.26%), Wheat: 8.63 (1.18%)

* Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3093 (-0.19%), GBP/USD: 1.6127 (-0.14%), USD/JPY: 78.2700 (0.38%)

* 10 year US Treasury: 1.798% (-0.020)

Financial and Economic News Update

U.S. stock-index futures down: U.S. stock-index futures are pointing to a lower open on Thursday after weekly applications for U.S. unemployment benefits jumped to the highest in four months. The Labor Department said unemployment benefits jumped 46,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 388,000. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) are slated to report earnings after the closing bell.

European markets trading modestly lower: European markets are trading lower on Thursday with the German DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) up 0.1 percent at 7403.99, the FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) down 0.2 percent at 5901.24 and the CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) lost 0.5 percent to 3510.83. The euro zone blue-chip ESTX 50 PR.EUR (INDEXSTOXX:SX5E) (Euro Stoxx 50) was trading 0.5 percent lower

Asian markets end higher: Asian markets closed higher on Thursday with the HANG SENG INDEX (INDEXHANGSENG:HIS) ending up 0.5 percent at 21,518.7, while the SSE Composite Index (SHA:000001) (Shanghai Composite Index) gained 1.2 percent. Japan’s NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) soared 2 percent to end at 8,982.86. The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index climbed 31.2 points to 4,559.4, the highest close since late July 2011. The benchmark Indian 30-share BSE SENSITIVE (INDEXBOM:SENSEX) index edged up 0.9 percent at 18,782.9.

Company News Update

 U.S.

* Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) reported third quarter earnings excluding items of 28 cents a share, 4 cents above the average analysts’ estimate. Stripping out an accounting charge related to tightening from debt-related credit spreads, revenue was up 18 percent to $7.55 billion.

* Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) posted third quarter earnings excluding items of 64 cents per share, in line with analysts’ expectations. Revenue for the period increased to $29 billion from $27.91 billion, a year earlier, also topping estimates of $28.96 billion.

* Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE:PM) reported third quarter adjusted profit of $1.38 a share from $1.37 a year ago. Net revenue, excluding excise tax, declined 5.3 percent to $7.92 billion. Analysts had projected earnings of $1.39 a share on revenue of $8.24 billion.

* The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE:TRV) reported third quarter net profit of $867 million, or $2.21 per share, compared with a net profit of $333 million, or 79 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Operating profit for the quarter came in at $2.22 per share, the highest in the company’s history. Analysts had expected earnings of $1.61 per share.

* Railroad company Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE:UNP) said third-quarter profit increased 15 percent to $1.04 billion, or $2.19 a share, from $904 million, or $1.85 a share, in same period last year. Revenue gained 5 percent to $5.34 billion from $5.1 billion, a year earlier. Analysts were looking at earnings of $2.18 a share on sales of $5.38 billion.

* Private-equity giant The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) reported third quarter economic net income of 55 cents a unit versus a loss of 34 cents in the year-ago period. Assets under management stood at $205 billion at the end of September, up 30 percent from the same period last year.

* BB&T Corporation (NYSE:BBT) said third quarter profit rose to $469 million, or 66 cents per share, from $366 million, or 52 cents per share, in the year ago period. Revenue increased 8.1 percent to $1.12 billion. Analysts had projected profit of 71 cents on revenue of $2.46 billion.

* Snap-on Incorporated (NYSE:SNA) said third quarter profit rose 9.3 percent to $74.1 million, or $1.26 a share, from $67.8 million, or $1.16 a share, in the year-ago quarter. Sales rose 2.1 percent to $711.6 million. Wall Street analysts had projected earnings of $1.23 on revenue of $707 million.

* Medical-products company Baxter International Inc. (NYSE:BAX) reported third quarter earnings excluding items of $1.14 a share, on revenue of $3.48 billion. Analysts had expected the company to report earnings of $1.14 per share on revenues of $3.52 billion.

* Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc. (NYSE:DO) said third quarter profit fell 31 percent to $178.2 million, or $1.28 a share, from $256.9 million, or $1.85 a share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue slid 17 percent to $729.1 million. Analysts had projected the contract driller to earn $1.02 a share on revenue of $735 million.

* Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE:BSX) reported third quarter adjusted earnings of 16 cents a share, on revenue of $1.74 billion. Analysts had forecast earnings of 11 cents a share on sales of $1.77 billion

* Regional bank Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) said third quarter profit fell 5 percent to $354 million, or 38 cents per share, from $373 million, or 40 cents per share, in the same period last year. Revenue edged 0.7 percent higher to $1.58 billion. Analysts were looking for a profit of 38 cents on $1.57 billion in revenue.

* KeyCorp (NYSE:KEY) reported a profit of $219 million, or 23 cents a share, from $217 million, or 22 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue gained 8.1 percent to $1.12 billion. Analysts had forecast a profit of 21 cents on $1.03 billion in revenue.

* Diversified manufacturer Danaher Corporation (NYSE:DHR) said third-quarter profit rose 4.8 percent to $548.7 million, or 77 cents a share, up from $523.4 million, or 74 cents a share, in the same period last year. Revenue for the period came in at $4.42 billion. Analysts expected 79 cents per share on $4.51 billion in revenue. The company lowered its full-year earnings-per-share estimate.

 Europe

* Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) said third-quarter underlying loss excluding one-time items stood at 0.07 euros per share compared to a profit of 0.03 euros per share in the year-ago period. Analysts were expecting a loss of 0.11 euros per share.

* Miners were among the biggest gainers in London, with Kazakhmys plc (LON:KAZ) up 2.1 percent and Vedanta Resources plc (LON:VED) climbing 1.7 percent. Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (LON:ENRC) rose 1.9 percent, while Antofagasta plc (LON:ANTO) added 1 percent. Rio Tinto plc (NYSE:RIO) (LON:RIO) (ASX:RIO) edged up 1.2 percent, and BHP Billiton Limited  (NYSE:BHP) (ASX:BHP) (LON:BLT) gained 1 percent.

* Dutch paint maker Akzo Nobel N.V. (AMS:AKZA) is down 5 percent after reporting a third quarter net loss of 2.4 billion euro ($3.15 billion) due to a 2.5 billion euro ($3.28 billion) impairment charge.

* Hedge fund Man Group Plc (LON:EMG) tumbled 8.3 percent as the firm announced on Thursday that outflows increased 57 percent in the third quarter.

* SABMiller plc (LON:SAB), the world’s second-biggest brewer, slumped 1.7 percent in London after first half beer volumes in its key Latin American market slowed to 4 percent from 8 percent a year earlier.

* French telecom equipment supplier Alcatel Lucent SA (ADR) (NYSE:ALU) (EPA:ALU) will slash its French workforce by about 15 percent as part of a plan to save 750 million euros ($984 million) in costs.

* Remy Cointreau (EPA:RCO), France’s second-biggest distiller, sank 6 percent after reporting first-half sales that fell short of forecasts.

* German luxury car-maker Daimler AG (ETR:DAI) (FRA:DAI) is planning to cut annual costs by at least 1 billion euros ($1.31 billion) amid the region’s deteriorating auto market, according to a Bloomberg report.

* Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A) (LON:RDSA) fell 1.1 percent in London after analysts at Goldman Sachs lowered their view on the European oil sector and added the British oil major to its sell list.

* German steel-maker ThyssenKrupp AG (ETR:TKA) (FRA:TKA) added 1.4 percent after Exane BNP Paribas upgraded the stock to “neutral” from “underperform.”

Asia-Pacific

* Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE:TM) (TYO:7203) is planning to cut its calendar-year production forecast by about 2 percent because of a drop in sales in China, where Japanese car makers have been the target of violent protests over a territorial row, Reuters reported.

* Richard Li, the majority owner of Hong Kong media and telecoms group PCCW Limited (HKG:0008), has won the race to buy ING Groep N.V. NYSE:ING) (AMS:INGA)’s Hong Kong and Thailand insurance businesses, for more than $2 billion, according to a report in The Financial Times.

* Australian oil and gas company, Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX:WPL) raised its full-year production target by as much as 8 percent due to stronger than expected output from its flagship Pluto gas project.

* A top Standard Chartered PLC (LON:STAN) (HKG:2888) banker, Peter Kay, involved in making a $1 billion loan to Samin Tan, the chairman of London-listed Indonesian coal miner Bumi Plc, has quit the bank.

* A White House enquiry found no clear evidence that Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei Technology Co Ltd (SHE:002502) had spied for the Chinese government.

* Australian supermarket operator Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW) posted a 2.3 percent gain in first-quarter same-store food and liquor sales that topped analysts’ expectations.

* China Life Insurance Company Limited (HKG:2628) (SHA:601628), the world’s largest insurer by market value, slid 1.1 percent in Hong Kong after warnings that net profit in the first nine months of the year is likely to fall about 55 percent.

* Next Media Limited (HKG:0282), controlled by Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai, jumped to their highest level in more than three years after announcing that it would sell its Taiwan publication and television assets for New Taiwan dollars 17.5 billion ($580 million).

* Chinese consumer electronics and home appliances company, Haier Electronics Group Co., Ltd. (HKG:1169) would take a majority stake in New Zealand’s Fisher and Paykel Appliances after some institutional investors accepted its new offer of NZ$1.28 a share that values the company at around NZ$927 million ($760 million).

 Economic Calendar for Thursday, October 18, 2012:

08:30 A.M. ET: Initial Jobless Claims (Week ending Saturday, October 13, 2012)

08:30 A.M. ET: Continuing Jobless Claims (Week ending Saturday, October 06, 2012)

09:45 A.M. ET: Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index (Week ending Sunday, Oct 14)

10:00 A.M. ET: Philadelphia Fed Survey (October)

10:00 A.M. ET: Leading Indicator (MoM) (September)

10:30 A.M. ET: EIA Natural Gas Report (Week ending Friday, October 12, 2012)

04:30 P.M. ET: Fed Balance Sheet

04:30 P.M. ET: Money Supply