Evening Markett Wrap

Evening Market Wrap
Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 17:19
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Commentary
Stocks fell by substantial margins once again on Wednesday, with traders running to safety amid the ongoing chaos in key oil-supplying Arab nations. The concerns led to another spike in the price of oil, which hit a high of $100 a barrel. Meanwhile, a strong reading on existing home sales in the U.S. did little to dent the day's negative sentiment. (Feb 23, 2011) Full Article
Economic News
Extending a recent upward trend, existing home sales in the U.S. rose for the third consecutive month in January, according to a report released by the National Association of Realtors on Wednesday. NAR said existing home sales rose 2.7 percent to an annual rate of 5.36 million in January from a downwardly revised 5.22 million in December. Economists had expected sales to slip to 5.25 million from the 5.28 million originally reported for the previous month. (Feb 23, 2011) Full Article
Corporate News
Engineering and construction company Fluor Corp. (FLR) on Wednesday reported a 21 percent decline in profit for the fourth quarter, reflecting one-time charges and lower revenues. However, the company maintained its earnings outlook for fiscal year 2011, saying it remains encouraged about future opportunities after three consecutive quarters of new award strength and backlog growth. The Irving, Texas-based company's net earnings for the fourth quarter was $117.1 million or $0.65 per share, down from $148.7 million or $0.82 per share in the year-ago quarter. (Feb 23, 2011) Full Article
Off-price retailer TJX Companies Inc. (TJX) Wednesday reported lower fourth-quarter profit, hurt by charges related to the closure of A.J. Wright stores. On an adjusted basis, earnings rose from last year and topped analysts' forecast, reflecting higher sales in the U.S., Canada and Europe. The retailer also offered earnings outlook for the first quarter and full-year 2012 and announced its plans to repurchase shares and lift dividend. Fourth-quarter net income was $334.41 million or $0.84 per share, compared with $395 million or $0.94 per share a year ago. (Feb 23, 2011) Full Article
Canadian coffee giant Tim Hortons, Inc. (THI, THI.TO) said Wednesday its fourth quarter profit soared compared to a year ago, boosted by gains related to the sale of its interest in Maidstone Bakeries. Total revenues were down, as bakery sale costs were passed on to store owners. However, sales at established stores were strong in both the U.S. and Canada. A household name in Canada, Tim Hortons has been making inroads in U.S. markets, mainly in the northeast. (Feb 23, 2011) Full Article
Satellite television company DirecTV (DTV) on Wednesday reported a turnaround to profit in the fourth quarter, as "highest subscriber additions in a decade" resulted in a 11 percent revenue growth. Both, adjusted earnings per share and revenue for the quarter topped analysts' expectations. The company's net income for the fourth quarter was $618 million or $0.74 per share, compared with net loss of $32 million or $0.03 per share in the year-ago period. (Feb 23, 2011) Full Article
Home improvement retailer Lowe's Cos., Inc. (LOW) reported Wednesday a 39 percent year-over-year increase in profit for the fourth quarter, reflecting sales growth and higher margins. Both earnings per share and quarterly revenues topped analysts' expectations. Comparable store sales edged up 1.1 percent. The company also provided an earnings guidance for the first quarter, which could meet or miss estimates. (Feb 23, 2011) Full Article
Luxury home builder Toll Brothers Inc. (TOL) reported Wednesday a profit for the first quarter, compared to prior year's loss, mainly benefited by higher tax benefit. On a pre-tax basis, the company posted a loss, however, narrower than last year, helped by lower costs and higher prices, despite a decline in home deliveries. First-quarter net income was $3.42 million or $0.02 per share, while prior year's loss was $40.75 million or $0.25 per share. On average, 18 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected loss of $0.07 per share. Analysts' estimates typically exclude one-time items. (Feb 23, 2011) Full Article
Political News
Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was elected the new mayor of Chicago on Tuesday, defeating five other candidates and receiving more than the 50 percent of the vote needed to avoid a runoff election. With more than 99 percent of the precincts reporting, Emanuel has received 55.3 percent of the vote, easily overcoming his opponents. (Feb 23, 2011) Full Article
Attorney General Eric Holder revealed Wednesday that the Obama administration will no longer defend the constitutionality of a Clinton-era law that bans federal recognition of same-sex marriages. While the Justice Department has defended the Defense of Marriage Act in the two years since President Barack Obama took office, Holder said that the president has now concluded that a section of the law defining marriage as only between a man and a woman is unconstitutional. (Feb 23, 2011) Full Article
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., released a statement Wednesday highlighting an independent economic analysis by Goldman Sachs that predicted that the spending cuts proposed by House Republicans would reduce U.S. economic growth by up to 2 percent. (Feb 23, 2011) Full Article

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