Wednesday Morning’s Top Stories
The euro fell below the $1.30 psychological key level against the U.S. dollar after Italy purchased a “euro-era” high yield to sell five-year bonds. In recent trading, the euro dropped 0.3 percent to $1.2995.
Don’t Miss: Merkel’s Cabinet Backs Bank Rescue Fund.
According to Kathleen Brooks, research director at Forex.com, she said $1.30 is “a key psychological level for the single currency and hasn’t been breached for 11 months. If we see it fall through here, it signals a couple of things: first, the debt crisis has escalated and second, market sentiment toward euro-based assets has taken another turn for the worse.”
As Asia’s mobile-phone operators prepare to introduce their fourth-generation series, they are headed away from unlimited data plans to raise revenues and recover billions of dollars used in upgrading networks. By implementing the limited data use and charging customers for extreme Web browsing on their phones, they carriers could see a boost on their investment. Top Asian mobile companies to watch include China Mobile , China Unicom , and NTT DoCoMo .
Investing Insights: SmartMoney’s Top 10 Stocks for 2012.
EBay’s PayPal will look to take on Groupon Inc. and LivingSocial in the online daily deal arena through the offering of coupons customized for users’ buying habits and mobile-phone area. PayPal plans to enter the fray of mobile deals in 2012′s first quarter.
PayPal has partnered with certain top 200 U.S. merchants, according to Scott Thompson, PayPal President. He added that company’s knowledge of customers’ preferences will give them an edge as coupons with targeted offers will go to to users’ smartphones as they pass stores.
Testifying in front of the Senate on Tuesday, CME Group Inc. chairman Terrence Duffy said that Jon Corzine, ex-CEO of MF Global Holdings Ltd. (MFGLQ), was aware that the firm made a loan out of its segregated customer accounts prior to going bankrupt. CME serves as MF Global’s regulatory and principal exchange.
Duffy said his exchange and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission staff had been informed about a discrepancy in the customer funds. He said, “on Oct. 31, a CME auditor also participated in a phone call with senior MF Global employees, wherein one employee indicated that Mr. Corzine knew about the loans that it had made for the customer — from the customer segregated accounts. He added, “We were told by MF Global that they transferred money to the broker dealer, ‘stop looking for the accounting error.”
Wednesday Morning Hot Stocks
- Despite following more than 10% yesterday, Best Buy is edging higher in early trading. The board of directors approved a regular quarterly cash dividend of 16 cents per share. The quarterly dividend is payable on January 24, 2012 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on January 3, 2012. Shares of electronic retailer Amazon are down about 1% this morning. First Solar is trading down 14% after cutting its 2011 sales and earnings forecast for the second time in two months. First Solar said it now expects net sales of $2.8 billion to $2.9 billion in 2011, down from its October forecast of $3 billion to $3.3 billion.
Investing Insights: SmartMoney’s Top 10 Stocks for 2012.
Shares of Charles Schwab Corp. are down more than 5%, despite the company reporting client daily trades are up 5% from last year. However, client daily trades are down 15% from October. E*Trade is also trading lower after saying its average trading volume in November dropped 11% from last year.
Broadcom Corp. is surging almost 7% after giving a more upbeat picture for the fourth quarter. The company also expects that overhead costs, which include research and development expenses, will decline by $5 million from the third quarter, compared with the earlier expectation that they would be unchanged.
Shares of Avon Products Inc. jumped 10% on Wednesday morning. The company announced it will be replacing Andrea Jung as CEO.
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Wednesday’s Trending Stocks
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is trimming back to 11,842, the S&P 500 Index is trading at 1,212 and the Nasdaq is lower at 2,534 today. Here are the hottest stocks catching the attention of investors and traders on Wall Street:
- Avon Products, Inc. : Shares of Avon Products, Inc. are trading higher 7% today. Avon Products, Inc. manufactures and direct sells beauty and related products. The Company markets its products to consumers worldwide through independent sales representatives. Avon’s product line includes beauty, fashion and home.
- JIVE SOFTWARE INC : Shares of JIVE SOFTWARE INC are trading lower over 2% today. Jive is the first company to bring the innovation of the consumer web to the enterprise. And in doing so, we’re making work great. We’re breaking down the barriers separating employees, customers, and partners. And making it possible for the first time to engage socially and authentically around what matters most to them. And as a result, drive breakthroughs in revenue, cost, and innovation.
- LiveDeal, Inc. : Shares of LiveDeal, Inc. are trading lower 1.79% today. LiveDeal Inc. provides Internet-based local online classifieds and Yellow Pages services. The Company offers an Internet advertising service that includes a WebPage and a listing through its Yellow Pages web site. YP features businesses and individuals in he United States and Canada.
- eOn Communications Corporation : Shares of eOn Communications Corporation are trading higher 125% today. eOn Communications Corporation designs, develops, and markets next-generation Linux communications servers and software. The Company’s products integrate and manage voice, e-mail, and Internet communications for customer contact centers and other applications. eOn also offers a traditional switching platform for small and medium-sized installations.
- Synovis Life Technologies, Inc. : Shares of Synovis Life Technologies, Inc. are trading flat today. Synovis Life Technologies, Inc. develops, designs, manufactures, and brings to market medical devices for surgical and interventional treatment of disease. The Company provides products such as implantable biomaterial, surgical productivity tools, micro-wire components, and a coupler system.
- First Solar, Inc. : Shares of First Solar, Inc. are trading lower 20% today. First Solar, Inc. designs and manufactures solar modules. The Company uses a thin film semiconductor technology to manufacture electricity-producing solar modules.
- Endocyte, Inc. : Shares of Endocyte, Inc. are trading lower 2.2% today. Endocyte Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company developing targeted therapies for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases. The Company uses a proprietary technology to create small molecule drug conjugates, or SMDCs, and companion imaging diagnostics that actively target receptors that are over-expressed on diseased cells, relative to healthy cells.
- Broadcom Corporation : Shares of Broadcom Corporation are trading higher 2.8% today. Broadcom Corporation provides integrated silicon solutions that enable broadband digital data transmission of voice, data, and video content to the home and within the business enterprise. The Company designs, develops, and supplies integrated circuits for cable set-top boxes, cable modems, high-speed networking, direct satellite and digital broadcast, and digital subscriber line.
- Best Buy Co., Inc. : Shares of Best Buy Co., Inc. are trading flat today. Best Buy Co., Inc. retails consumer electronics, home office products, entertainment software, appliances and related services through its retail stores, as well as its web site. The Company also retails pre-recorded home entertainment products through retail stores.
- Piedmont Natural Gas Company Inc. : Shares of Piedmont Natural Gas Company Inc. are trading flat today. Piedmont Natural Gas Company, Inc. is an energy and services company that primarily transports, distributes, and sells natural gas. The Company serves residential, commercial, and industrial customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Piedmont also, through subsidiaries, markets natural gas to customers in Georgia, and distributes propane in various states.
Markets closed down on Wall Street today: Dow -1.10%, S&P -1.13%, Nasdaq -1.55%, Oil -5.20%, Gold -5.20%.
On the commodities front, Oil dropped to $94.93 a barrel. Precious metals were also down, with Gold falling to $1,576.60 an ounce while Silver fell 7.68% to settle at $28.86.
Hot Feature: Merkel’s Cabinet Backs Bank Rescue Fund
Today’s markets were down because:
1) Dollar. The dollar strengthened today as the euro declined to an 11-month low. The stronger dollar dragged down commodities priced in the U.S. currency. The drop in commodities hit shares of companies in the energy and materials sectors, including Caterpillar , Alcoa , and Exxon Mobil , taking a toll on the Dow. OPEC’s decision to increase its production cap also took a toll on oil prices, which in turn hit companies like Chevron Corp. and BP .
2) Euro. Investors remained nervous today about the euro-zone debt crisis and increasingly tight credit conditions for banks across Europe, pushing the euro down below $1.30. While most European Union leaders have agreed in theory to form a fiscal compact aimed at strengthening budgetary discipline, investors are worried that implementing the agreement could prove legally and politically difficult, as EU members ratifying the treaty would be essentially signing over their fiscal sovereignty.
3) Debt. U.S. stocks joined a global slump as the cost of insuring against default on European sovereign debt approached record highs. Italy had to pay the most in 14 years to sell five-year bonds in an auction today. The yield on Ireland’s 10-year bonds rose to 8.77 percent today, up from 8.06 percent a month earlier. Spain’s 10-year bond yielded 5.69 percent and the yield on Germany’s benchmark 10-year bund was 1.92 percent.
After Hours Radar Stocks
Shares of CBS Corp. are edging higher in late trading. The company announced it reached a deal with the NFL to keep the league’s games on the station through 2022. CBS will also broadcast the Super Bowl in 2016, 2019 and 2022. Fox and NBC also announced deals with the NFL.
Verifone Systems Inc. reported fourth quarter results late Wednesday. Net income for VeriFone Systems Inc. increased to $198.8 million ($1.84 per share), compared to $49.4 million (55 cents per share) in the same quarter a year earlier. This is a more than fourfold rise from the year earlier quarter. Other electronic payment companies include: NCR Corporation and Hypercom Corp. .
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Shares of Research in Motion continue to head lower before it releases its results for the third quarter. The stock is now trading at May 2004 levels. The company continues to face increased competition from iPhone maker Apple .
Late Wednesday, Verizon Communications announced plans to form a new organization to oversee operations with all its business and government customers. Chief executive Lowell McAdam explained, “We know that the intersection of mobility, cloud computing and security will drive a revolution in enterprise IT over the next ten years. This change will allow us to leverage all of our technology assets to take advantage of growth opportunities around the world.” Shares were unchanged in late trading, while rival AT&T edged .15% higher.
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