Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News

Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News

by SA Editor Eli Hoffmann


  • Fed cuts to 1%. In a unanimous decision, the Fed dropped its key fed funds target to 1% from 1.5%, while the discount rate fell to 1.25% from 1.75%. "The pace of economic activity appears to have slowed markedly, owing importantly to a decline in consumer expenditures," it said. The Fed hinted it may not be done with rate cuts: "... downside risks to growth remain. The Committee will monitor economic and financial developments carefully and will act as needed to promote sustainable economic growth and price stability." New in its statement were its reference to "slowing economic activity in many foreign economies" that "is damping the prospects for U.S. exports," and its more dovish stance on inflation, which it now "expects" to moderate.
  • Fed moves free cash. Credit markets continued to thaw Thursday after the Fed lowered its target lending rate to 1% and agreed to pump $120B into Brazil, Mexico, Singapore and South Korea through swap agreements. Three-month Libor is expected to drop 20 BPs to 3.22%. Libor has declined for 13 days in a row. "The swap lines are not unlimited but at least they will take a lot of tension out of the credit markets," economist Mark Tan said. "The inclusion of Singapore is an extension to the region because it's the center for Asia's dollar markets." Taiwan, Hong Kong and China all lowered their key lending rates.
  • ECB bank loans top $1T. The ECB says it has now lent an unprecedented $1T (€774B) to banks, not including dollar loans. Still, while credit markets are looser than they were two weeks ago, they're by no means back to normal analysts say. "Short-term money markets are responding to the liquidity flood from the ECB and the prospect of lower interest rates, but we are not out of the woods on longer-term lending," ING's Padhraic Garvey said.
  • FDIC to help troubled homeowners. The government is preparing to unveil a plan that will guarantee $500B in loans to troubled borrowers, sources say. The program would use $50B from the $700B TARP pot to lower loan interest rates for five years. FDIC will run the program, which could affect 3 million distressed loans. "It will take a massive and quick infusion of funds for refinancings and other foreclosure prevention to turn the tide," researcher David Abromowitz said.
  • Poor DB earnings beat expectations. Deutsche Bank (DB) reports Q3 net income fell 73% to €435M from €1.62B the previous year. The results were better than the expected net loss of €251M thanks to new EU accounting rules and a tax benefit. Q3 results included €1.2B in writedowns related to the credit crisis, bringing the bank's total writedowns to €8.5B since the crisis began. Revenue fell 14% to €4.37B from €5.10B. CEO Josef Ackermann cautioned on dividend expectations for 2008, saying the dividend policy will be balance with 'our commitment to conserving capital strength in a highly uncertain environment.'
  • High crude helps Shell. Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) reports Q3 profit climbed 22% as record high oil prices offset production cuts in Nigeria and the Gulf of Mexico. Net income rose to $8.45B from $6.92B the previous year. Profit was $8.04B with $800M of gains in fair-value adjustments, vs. expectations of $7.22B. With oil prices now down from July's highs and lost production in Nigeria and Russia, Shell plans to mine Canadian oil sands and develop a gas-to-liquids venture in Qatar. Shares -1.6% premarket.
  • Investors eye premium on RTP deal. Rio Tinto (RTP) is facing pressure from some institutional investors to start talks with BHP Billiton (BHP) on its $87B hostile takeover bid. Investors have seen Rio's share price battered in recent weeks and are interested in BHP's premium of 3.4 of its shares for each Rio share vs. the current ratio of roughly 2.7 to 1. An inside source said a few small funds are in favor of the deal but Rio is not facing a wave of investor pressure to begin negotiations. Rio CEO Tom Albanese said recent movements in stock or commodity prices have not changed the company's views that BHP's
  • offer undervalues the company's operations and growth projects. Premarket: RTP +6.9%.
  • Tysabri suffers another setback. Shares of Irish drugmaker Elan (ELN) plunged as much as 49% in Dublin after a patient taking its multiple sclerosis treatment Tysabri contracted a life-threatening brain illness, the third case since July. Elan's ADRs are -18.4% in U.S. premarket trading. Elan markets the drug together with U.S. firm Biogen Idec (BIIB).
  • Bleak outlook for pension plans. Corporate pension plans may be in serious trouble. At the end of last year S&P 500 companies had a combined pension plan surplus of about $60B; through September of this year that figure likely turned into a combined deficit of $75B, which may by now be -$300B or more.
  • Japan announces $50B stimulus package. Japan said it will pump ¥5T ($51B) into its economy, including funds for households and local governments. "We're facing a storm that comes once in every 100 years," Prime Minister Taro Aso said. "While Japan's financial system remains relatively sound there will surely be an impact on the real economy." The Bank of Japan is expected to cut interest rates tomorrow after a Nikkei newspaper report raised expectations of a rate cut, causing the yen to slump and stocks to rise. If BoJ holds its rate steady, the yen could appreciate again as the stock market resume its fall.

Earnings: Thursday Before Open

  • CVS Caremark (CVS): Q3 EPS of $0.60 in-line. Revenue of $20.86B (+1.8%) vs. $21.06B. (PR)
  • Deutsche Bank (DB): Q3 EPS of €0.39 vs. €1.57 consensus. Revenue of €4.37B in-line. Shares +14.5% in Frankfurt. (AP)
  • Eastman Kodak (EK): Q3 EPS of $0.33 beats by $0.05. Revenue of $2.4B (-5.1%) vs. $2.53B. (PR)
  • Motorola (MOT): Q3 EPS of $0.05 beats by $0.03. Revenue of $7.48B (-15.1%) vs. $7.82B. (PR)
  • Shell (RDS.A): Q3 EPS of $2.62 misses by $0.05. Revenue of $131.57B vs. $123.81B. Shares -1.3%. (PR)
  • Taiwan Semi (TSM): Q3 EPS of $0.19 in-line. Revenue of $2.98B (-88.9%) in-line. Sees Q4 revenue of NT$69-71B vs. NT$84.64B. Shares +6.9% in Taiwan. (PR)
  • Unilever (UL): Q3 earnings of $0.51 beats by $0.02. Revenue of $13.40B vs. $14.36B. Sees full-year sales growth "well in excess" of its target. Shares +3.4% in London. (PR)

Earnings: Wednesday After Close

  • Advance Auto Parts (AAP): Q3 EPS of $0.59 beats by $0.02. Revenue of $1.19B (+2.6%) in-line. Shares -1.2%. (PR)
  • Allied Waste (AW): Q3 EPS of $0.28 beats by $0.02. Revenue of $1.61B (+3.2%) in-line. Shares +0.2%. (PR)
  • Ameriprise Financial (AMP): Q3 EPS of $0.14 misses by $0.68. Revenue of $2.03B (-6.4%) vs. $1.95B. Shares flat. (PR)
  • Amkor Technology (AMKR): Q3 EPS of $0.44 beats by $0.12. Revenue of $720M (+4.4%) vs. $725M. Shares -2.8%. (PR)
  • Atmel (ATML): Q3 EPS of $0.09 beats by $0.08. Revenue of $400M (-5%) in-line. Shares +2%. (PR)
  • CA Inc. (CA): FQ2 EPS of $0.41 beats by $0.04. Revenue of $1.11B (+3.7%) in-line. Approves $250M share repurchase. Shares +1.8%. (PR)
  • Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF): Q3 EPS of $1.61 misses by $0.66. Revenue of $1.19B (+92%) vs. $1.23B. Shares -0.5%. (PR)
  • CME Group (CME): Q3 EPS of $4.13 beats by $0.15. Revenue of $681M (+20.5%) vs. $644M. Shares -3.2%. (PR)
  • Curtiss-Wright (CW): Q3 EPS of $0.60 in-line. Revenue of $436M (+9.9%) vs. $441M. (PR)
  • Grey Wolf (GW): Q3 EPS of $0.12 misses by $0.05. Revenue of $234M (+2.4%) in-line. (PR)
  • Hartford Financial (HIG): Q3 EPS of -$8.74 vs. -$1.54 consensus. Says volatile credit and equity markets and the largest catastrophe in the past three years significantly affected results. Shares -1.8%. (PR)
  • JDS Uniphase (JDSU): FQ1 EPS of $0.11 beats by $0.02. Revenue of $380M in-line. Shares -1.7%. (PR)
  • MetLife (MET): Q3 EPS of $0.88 misses by $0.01. Revenue of $13.38B (+14.6%) vs. $13.26B. Shares +1.3%. (PR)
  • Murphy Oil (MUR): Q3 EPS of $3.04 beats by $0.39. Revenue of $8.19B (+71.3%) vs. $6.93B. Sees Q4 EPS of $1.00-1.40 vs. $1.99. Shares -1.1%. (PR)
  • Oil States International (OIS): Q3 EPS of $1.66 beats by $0.41. Revenue of $815M (+54.5%) vs. $677M. Sees Q4 EPS of $1.45-1.55 vs. $1.32. Shares +11.5%. (PR)
  • O'Reilly Automotive (ORLY): Q3 EPS of $0.40 in-line. Revenue of $1.11B (+67.9%) in-line. (PR)
  • Owens-Illinois (OI): Q3 EPS of $0.90 beats by $0.05. Revenue of $2.01B (+4.2%) in-line. Shares +0.5%. (PR)
  • Prudential Financial (PRU): Q3 EPS of $0.74 misses by $0.20. Revenue of $6.15B (-9.2%) vs. $6.72B. "Unfavorable financial market conditions are having a substantial negative effect on reported results of our domestic businesses and market values in our investment portfolio." Shares flat. (PR)
  • RealNetworks (RNWK): Q3 EPS of -$0.03 in-line. Revenue of $152M in-line. Shares +2.2%. (PR)
  • Smith Micro Software (SMSI): Q3 EPS of $0.19 beats by $0.04. Revenue of $26.6M (+30.6%) vs. $26.1M. Shares +8.7%. (PR)
  • Standard Pacific (SPF): Q3 EPS of -$0.07 beats by $0.40. Revenue of $400M (-37.8%) vs. $421M. (PR)
  • Symantec (SYMC): FQ2 EPS of $0.37 beats by $0.02. Revenue of $1.52B (+7%) in-line. Sees Q3 EPS of $0.30-0.33 vs. $0.36 and revenue of $1.45-1.5B vs. $1.61B. Shares -5.6%. (PR)
  • Tesoro (TSO): Q3 EPS of $1.63 beats by $0.15. Revenue of $8.7B (+47.4%) vs. $7.81B. Shares +4.5%. (PR)
  • TheStreet.com (TSCM): Q3 EPS of -$0.04 misses by $0.10. Revenue of $16.7M (+3.8%) vs. $19.2M. Names Jim Cramer Chairman, allowing CEO Thomas Clarke to focus "on navigating the company through this difficult economic environment." Shares -0.3%. (PR)
  • ValueClick (VCLK): Q3 EPS of $0.15 in-line. Revenue of $153M (-2.5%) in-line. Sees Q4 EPS of $0.15-0.16 vs. $0.19, and revenue of $140-150M vs. $168M. Shares +2.9%. (PR)
  • Visa (V): FQ4 EPS of $0.58 beats by $0.02. Revenue of $1.71B (+16.7%) in-line. Sees full-year revenue growth at the lower end of the 11-15% range. Shares -0.4%. (PR)
  • Whiting Petroleum (WLL): Q3 EPS of $2.49 beats by $0.16. Revenue of $425M (+106.9%) vs. $358M. (PR)

Today's Markets

  • Asia markets had a stellar day. Nikkei +9.96% to 9,030. Hang Seng +12.82% to 14,330. Shanghai +2.55% to 1,764. India closed.
  • Europe is notably higher at midday. London +1.8%. Paris +1.5%. Frankfurt, yesterday's laggard, +4.7%.
  • U.S. futures indicate a strong open. Dow +3.5%. to 9,160. S&P +3.1% to 956. Nasdaq +3.2%. Crude +1.5% to $68.49. Gold +2.3% to $771.50.

Thursday's Economic Calendar

Seeking Alpha editor Rachael Granby contributed to this post.


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