Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News

Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News

by SA Editor Eli Hoffmann

  • Even more firms may gain access to TARP. Sources say the Treasury may use some of its $700B rescue fund to buy stakes in financing companies such as GE's (GE) GE Capital and CIT Group (CIT). Presently the program only includes publicly-traded banks and insurers, although the Treasury is already mulling opening the door to some privately-held firms. The U.S. government could eventually own even more of the American financial system than first envisioned.
  • Yahoo, Google tone down ad tie-up. Yahoo (YHOO) and Google (GOOG) submitted a revised version of their search-ad pact to the Justice Department in the hope gaining approval. New provisions limit the scope of the deal, including shortening the agreement to two years from ten, and capping Yahoo's revenue from the deal to 25% of its search revenue total; previously there was no cap. The revised plan also gives Google advertisers the ability to opt out of having their ads displayed on Yahoo sites. It's unclear whether the changes will suffice to appease regulators who worry the deal will allow Google (GOOG) to monopolize online advertising. Separately, Yahoo said Monday Microsoft (MSFT) executive Jeff Dossett will take the lead position in its online media properties after veteran Scott Moore left "for other opportunities."
  • UBS posts earnings, warnings. UBS (UBS) confirmed a Q3 profit of 296M Swiss francs ($256.3M) helped by credit and tax gains, with outflows of 49.3B francs from its wealth management unit and 34.4B francs from its asset management unit. The world's largest wealth manager, UBS had already reported much of its Q3 results last month when it announced a capital injection of 6B franc from the Swiss government and said it would unload $60B of risky assets into a central bank fund. UBS noted some positive client money flows in October, but warned 'difficult' market conditions would hurt fee-earning businesses and Q4 results would be weighed down by the accounting effects of transferring risky assets. Shares -2.6% premarket.
  • Outlook sours for RBS. Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) abandoned its full-year profit forecast after it wrote-down £1B in October against assets connected to Lehman Brothers and Icelandic banks and as bad loans rose. It also posted £1.4B of markdowns in Q3 before new accounting rules allowed it to claim back £1.2B. CEO Stephen Hester said the latest writedowns, coming in addition to £5.9B in H1, show the bank has too much risk and could face a full-year loss. RBS is in line for a U.K. bailout, and the government could own up to 60% of the bank unless investors buy some of the £20B of stock to be issued later this year. Shares -14.9% premarket.
  • Goldman hedge fund down $1B. A flagship Goldman Sachs (GS) hedge fund - Goldman Sachs Investment Partners - has lost almost $1B of its $6B since its launch in January, further evidence of the crisis facing the industry. "We anticipate that these results will lead to net outflows from the hedge fund industry," managers said, although GSIC itself imposed a two-year lock-in at inception. More than half of its 13% Q3 loss was on positions in commodities, basic materials, metals, mining, energy and agriculture.
  • Tough 2009 for JPMorgan. JPMorgan (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon told employees the firm faces "highly challenging conditions" in 2009, but sees a possible "strong recovery" in 2010. JPM's recent acquisitions of Bear Stearns and WaMu will improve performance in the "longer term," he said. Dimon warned Asia is "going to get worse than you think" as the tidal wave that began with a collapse of the U.S. mortgage market washes over it. Still, longer-term, he sees "very substantial natural growth" in the region.
  • iPod master leaves Apple. Tony Fadell, one of the fathers of the iPod, is leaving Apple (AAPL) for personal reasons, sources say. Former IBM (IBM) executive Mark Papermaster will take his place. During Fadell's tenure, the iPod grew from a curiosity into a major cash cow; Apple sold 54.7M iPods during its most recent fiscal year. But growth has cooled off as saturation becomes a factor in many countries. Still, Apple shows no signs of giving up any of its 70% U.S. market share.
  • Dismal October for automakers. General Motors (GM) said October was likely the auto industry's worst month since WWII after its sales plunged 45%, Ford's (F) fell 30%, Nissan's (NSANY) declined 33%, Honda's (HMC) dropped 25%, while Toyota's (TM) declined by 23%. GM marketing chief Mark LaNeve said he believes there's plenty of pent-up demand, "but until the credit markets open up and consumer confidence improves, the entire U.S. economy, and any industry like autos that relies on financing, will suffer." U.S. auto sales are now down 14.6% YTD. "It's weaker than we were anticipating," J.D. Power's Bob Schnorbus said, warning leaders should take heed: "The auto industry is important to the economy and it should not be taken too lightly."
  • Manufacturing paints bleak picture. The ISM's Manufacturing index fell to 38.9 in October, its lowest level since 1982, and worse than the expected 41.5. The only industries reporting growth were apparel and leather & allied products. Petroleum & coal and nonmetallic mineral products led the laggards. The weaker than expected data increases the risk the current slump will outdo the recessions of 2001 and 1991. Companies are cutting back on investments and hiring as Q3 consumer spending plunged by 3.1% - the biggest decline in 28 years. The survey "indicates a significantly faster rate of decline in manufacturing when comparing October to September," ISM director Norbert Ore said. "It appears that manufacturing is experiencing significant demand destruction as a result of recent events." Prices also rose at a much slower rate: the price index plunged to 37 from 53.5 in September - the lowest level since December 2001. Export orders dropped for the first time in 70 months.
  • September Construction Spending fell 0.3% from August's revised numbers, better than the expected 0.8% drop. Residential private construction -1.3%; non-residential +1.2%.

Earnings: Before Open

  • Archer Daniels Midland (ADM): FQ1 EPS of $1.63 vs. consensus of $0.69. Revenue of $21.16B (+65%) vs. $15.98B. (PR)
  • Cimarex Energy (XEC): Q3 EPS of $2.19 misses by $0.07. Revenue of $576.5M (+67.7%) vs. $568M. (PR)
  • Dean Foods (DF): Q3 EPS of $0.28 misses by $0.03. Revenue of $3.19B (+2.5%) in-line. (PR)
  • Emerson Electric (EMR): FQ4 EPS of $0.88 beats by $0.02. Revenue of $6.7B (+11.1%) in-line. (PR)
  • Holly (HOC): Q3 EPS of $1.00 beats by $0.13. Revenue of $1.72B (+42.3%) in-line. (PR)
  • Magna International (MGA): Q3 EPS of $0.17 vs. consensus of $0.90. Revenue of $5.53B (-9%) in-line. (PR)
  • Marvel Entertainment (MVL): Q3 EPS of $0.64 beats by $0.19. Revenue of $182.5M (+47.7%) vs. $146M. Sees full-year EPS of $2.45-2.65 vs. $1.93 and 2009 EPS of $1.00-1.35 vs. $1.94. (PR)
  • Myriad Genetics (MYGN): FQ1 EPS of $0.30 beats by $0.16. Revenue of $74M (+52.4%) vs. $70M. (PR)
  • NiSource (NI): Q3 EPS of $0.03 in-line. Revenue of $1.42B (+11.8%) vs. $1.36B. (PR)
  • PPL Corp. (PPL): Q3 EPS of $0.45 misses by $0.15. Sees full-year EPS of $2.00-2.05 vs. $2.29, and 2009 EPS of $1.60-1.90 vs. $2.17. "Many of the pressures that affected our results in 2008 also are expected to continue into 2009..." (PR)
  • St. Joe (JOE): Q3 EPS of -$0.12 misses by $0.12. Revenue of $32.8M (-57.6%) vs. $47.3M. (PR)
  • Talisman Energy (TLM): Q3 EPS of $0.72 beats by $0.08. Revenue of $2.82B (+50.9%) vs. $2.89B. (PR)
  • W&T Offshore (WTI): Q3 EPS of $0.79 misses by $0.03. Revenue of $290M (+13.6%) vs. $276M. (PR)

Earnings: Monday After Close

  • Automatic Data Processing (ADP): FQ1 EPS of $0.54 beats by $0.04. Revenue of $2.18B (+9.5%) in-line. Shares -2.5%. (PR)
  • Coldwater Creek (CWTR): Sees Q3 sales of $225M vs. $265M consensus, and EPS of -$0.07 to -$0.09 vs. $0.03 consensus. "The overall macro-economic environment has proven to be substantially more challenging than anticipated." Shares -5.9%. (PR)
  • Comstock Resources (CRK): Q3 EPS of $1.20 beats by $0.20. Revenue of $169M (+103.7%) vs. $158M. (PR)
  • Embraer (ERJ): Q3 EPS of $0.32 misses by $0.07. Revenue of $1.55B (+8.1%) vs. $1.63B. (PR)
  • EOG Resources (EOG): Q3 EPS of $2.34 beats by $0.10. Revenue of $3.22B (+226.5%). Shares +1.9%. (PR)
  • Forest Oil (FST): Q3 EPS of $1.26 misses by $0.12. Revenue of $474M (+51.5%) vs. $465M. (PR)
  • Herbalife (HLF): Q3 EPS of $0.89 beats by $0.03. Revenue of $M in-line. Sees Q4 EPS of $0.65-0.70 vs. $0.91, and 2009 EPS of $3.50-3.55 vs. $3.71. Shares -13.5%. (PR)
  • MasterCard (MA): Q3 EPS of $2.47 beats by $0.22. Revenue of $1.34B (+23.7%) vs. $1.27B. Gross dollar volume rose 12.3%. "As we are not immune from the long-term effects of the current economic environment, we have significantly accelerated the focus on our cost structure..." Shares +8%. (PR)
  • Mohawk Industries (MHK): Q3 EPS of $1.10 misses by $0.02. Revenue of $1.76B (-9%) in-line. (PR)
  • Open Text (OTEX): Q3 EPS of $0.53 beats by $0.03. Revenue of $183M (+11.4%) vs. $179M. Shares -1.1%. (PR)
  • Pepco Holdings (POM): Q3 EPS of $0.59 misses by $0.11. Revenue of $3.06B (+10.4%) vs. $2.73B. (PR)
  • Pitney Bowes (PBI): Q3 EPS of $0.67 misses by $0.03. Revenue of $1.55B (+2.6%) vs. $1.6B. Sees full-year EPS of $2.75-2.82 vs. $2.85. (PR)
  • St. Mary Land (SM): Q3 EPS of $1.20 beats by $0.08. Revenue of $324M (+31.4%) vs. $329M. Shares +1.2%. (PR)
  • Viacom (VIA): Q3 EPS of $0.62 beats by $0.07. Revenue of $3.41B (+4.2%) vs. $3.32B. Shares +1.5%. (PR)

Today's Markets

  • Asia closed mixed Tuesday. Tokyo was the standout, +6.27% to 9,115. Shanghai -0.76% to 1,707. Hang Seng +0.28% to 14,384. BSE Sensex +2.84% to 10,631.
  • European markets posted strong morning gains. London +1.75%. Paris +2.1%. Frankfurt +2%.
  • U.S. futures are markedly higher at 7:00 AM. Dow +1.88% to 9506. S&P +1.96% to 988.50. Nasdaq +2.18%. Crude +1.16% to $64.65. Gold +1.49% to $737.60.

Tuesday's Economic Calendar

Seeking Alpha editor Rachael Granby contributed to this post.

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