Stocks perked up in Wednesday's premarket session as a bright outlook at
gave bulls something to gnaw on.
Index futures recently showed the
trading 2 points above fair value, while the Nasdaq 100 was set for a 9-point gain. The 10-year Treasury bond was up 1/32 in price to yield 4.56%, while the dollar rose against the yen and euro.
Crude firmed after plunging more than $2 a barrel Tuesday. In electronic Nymex trading, the March contract was up 27 cents to $63.36 a barrel. An Energy Department report due later Wednesday is expected to show that crude inventories rose by 300,000 barrels last week while gasoline stocks rose by 1.9 million barrels, according to a
Overseas markets were lower, with London's FTSE 100 recently down 0.3% to 5728 and Germany's Xetra DAX losing 0.4% to 5652. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei tumbled 2.7% overnight to 16,273, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.9% to 15,373.
U.S. stocks fell Tuesday as the decline in crude sank energy shares. Since last Wednesday, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
has shed 204 points, or 1.8%, while the S&P 500 is off 27 points, or 2.1%, and the
is down 66 points, or 2.9%.
Cisco's second-quarter earnings fell 2% from a year ago to $1.38 billion, or 22 cents a share, reflecting a stock-options expense. Adjusted earnings of 26 cents were a penny ahead of estimates, while sales of $6.36 billion matched estimates. CEO John Chambers said on a post-earnings conference call that second-quarter orders rose in the midteens, higher than expected, and the router maker left guidance for the third quarter intact.
Billionaire investor Carl Icahn laid out his long-awaited vision for
Tuesday night, recommending the company be split into four separate companies in an effort to unlock value. Icahn and several hedge fund allies control about 3.3% of the media company's shares. Time Warner executives told shareholders they plan to stick to their current strategy.
Another company where an asset separation is reportedly on the table is
. Reports Wednesday said the drug giant is weighing the sale or spinoff of its over-the-counter drugs operation, a unit that did $14 billion in sales last year.
said fourth-quarter profit fell 60% from a gain-swollen year-ago period to $224 million, or $1.78 a share, while adjusted earnings of $1.98 a share were 34 cents ahead of estimates.
said it earned 65 cents a share on sales of $10.1 billion in the fourth quarter, matching estimates on the bottom line and beating them on top. The company guided 2006 earnings in line with forecasts.