What’s the Story?

by CC July 25, 2012 8:42 am • Commentary


U.S. stock futures were mostly higher as better-than-expected results from Caterpillar and Boeing and a rebound in Spanish stocks helped distract investors from a rare disappointment from Apple and some weak European economic data.

About 90 minutes before Wednesday’s opening bell, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures ran up 120 points, or 1%, to 12644. On Tuesday, the Dow fell 104.14 points, or 0.8%, to suffer a third-consecutive triple-digit loss, the longest such streak in over 10 months.

Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index futures gained 6 points, or 0.5%, to 1336. Meanwhile, the futures for the technology-friendly Nasdaq 100 slipped 8 points, or 0.3%, to 2540.


The UK economy contracted much more sharply than expected in the second quarter of the year, prolonging and deepening the country’s double-dip recession.

Output fell 0.7 per cent between the first and second quarter, more than the 0.2 per cent fall economists had expected. The UK economy has contracted for three quarters in a row and is now smaller than when the coalition government took office in 2010, providing fuel to critics of its austerity measures.


The company sold 26 million iPhones in the fiscal third quarter, shy of the 28.4 million predicted by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. That caused Apple to miss analysts’ quarterly sales and profit estimates for the second time since 2003.

Customers delayed purchases of existing iPhone versions while awaiting the next model. Samsung Electronics Co. releases several designs a year to defend its lead in the $219.1 billion smartphone market. That raises the stakes for Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, who relies on a once-a-year upgrade of the device that makes up half of the company’s sales.



Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N), the world’s largest maker of construction machines, posted a 67 percent jump in quarterly profit on Wednesday and raised its forecast for 2012 earnings.

The company reported a second-quarter profit of $1.67 billion, or $2.54 per share, compared with $1.02 billion, or $1.52 per share, a yea earlier.

Revenue rose 21 percent to $17.37 billion.

The company now expects to earn $9.60 per share in 2012, up from a previous forecast of $9.50.


Since their June policy meeting, officials have made clear—in interviews, speeches and testimony to Congress—that they find the current state of the economy unacceptable. Many officials appear increasingly inclined to move unless they see evidence soon that activity is picking up on its own.

Amid the recent wave of disappointing economic news, conversation inside the Fed has turned more intensely toward the questions of how and when to move. Central bank officials could take new steps at their meeting next week, July 31 and Aug. 1, though they might wait until their September meeting to accumulate more information on the pace of growth and job gains before deciding whether to act.


Boeing [BA  72.03    -0.88  (-1.21%)   ] – The aircraft maker posted earnings that beat estimates as gains in airplane deliveries trumped higher pension costs.

PepsiCo [PEP  68.79    -0.55  (-0.79%)   ] – The beverage giant posted better-than-expected earnings, thanks to price increases, and maintained its full-year outlook.

ConocoPhillips [COP  54.64    -0.41  (-0.74%)   ] – The oil and gas producer reported a decline in earnings, hurt by lower energy prices and a drop in output.

Bristol-Myers Squibb [BMY  34.73    -0.24  (-0.69%)   ] – The pharmaceutical company posted lower-than-expected quarterly results. The company is now facing pressure from generic rivals, but still maintained its 2012 full-year profit forecast.

Symantec [SYMC  13.175    -0.235  (-1.75%)   ] – The security-software maker unexpectedly ousted its CEO Enrique Salem, who had been under heavy criticism from investors for financial disappointments. Current chairman and former CEO of Intuit Steve Bennett has been selected as the replacement. The company also announced a quarterly outlook that was below projections.

Ford [F  9.06    -0.11  (-1.2%)   ] – The automaker posted better-than-expected earnings, but almost doubled its estimates for losses in Europe. Ford and GM [GM  19.02    -0.28  (-1.45%)   ] shares hit 52-week lows in the previous session. Meanwhile, GM said it is investing almost $830 million in research and development in Canada in the next four years to satisfy conditions it agreed to received bailout funds from the Canadian government in 2009.

Netflix [NFLX  80.39    0.45  (+0.56%)   ] – The movie-streaming company topped earnings expectations, but issued a cautious subscriber outlook and said a push into a fourth international market in the fourth quarter will lead to a loss.

Broadcom [BRCM  30.77    -0.21  (-0.68%)   ] – The chipmaker posted earnings and revenue that topped estimates and forecast sales growth in the current quarter. But analysts were negative on the stock—at least five brokerages lowered their price targets.

Motorola Solutions [MSI  45.29    -0.60  (-1.31%)   ] – The communications equipment maker posted a lower-than-expected quarterly profit, hurt by lower demand for its enterprise business.

Peabody Energy [BTU  20.55    -2.61  (-11.27%)   ] – The coal miner posted lower-than-expected earnings and handed in a weak current-quarter profit guidance. In addition, at least three brokerages lowered their price targets on the firm.

Nielsen [NLSN  25.03    -0.63  (-2.46%)   ] – The marketing and advertising research company posted higher-than-expected earnings on cost cutting.