NEW YORK (
) -- Here are the top stock market headlines for the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010.
Wednesday's Earnings Roundup
- Caterpillar (CAT) - Get Report reported an adjusted fourth-quarter profit of 41 cents a share, better than the Thomson Reuters average estimate of 28 cents a share. Revenue of $7.9 billion was down nearly 39% from a year ago and worse than the consensus estimate of $8.11 billion. For 2010, Caterpillar offered a mixed view, saying it expects revenue to be up 10% to 25% from 2009 revenue of $32.4 billion, and a profit of about $2.50 a share. Analysts currently expect full-year earnings of $2.71 a share on revenue of $36.06 billion.
- United Technologies said it earned $1.15 a share in the fourth quarter, beating Wall Street's consensus target by a penny a share. Sales fell 4.5% from a year ago to $14.1 billion, although that was also ahead of estimates. For 2010, United Tech offered in-line earnings guidance.
- Boeing (BA) - Get Report posted a fourth-quarter profit of $1.75 a share, well ahead of the Thomson Reuters average estimate of $1.36 a share. For 2010, Boeing offered weak earnings guidance, saying it expects a profit of $3.70 to $4 a share, below the consensus estimate of $4.26 a share. Boeing guided toward revenue between $64 billion and $66 billion; analysts had been estimating $65.4 million. Guidance is for 460 to 465 commercial airplane deliveries.
- General Dynamics (GD) - Get Report posted a fourth-quarter profit of $1.59 a share, topping the Thomson Reuters average estimate of $1.57 a share. Revenue inched higher to $7.9 billion from a year ago, although that was below the $8.4-billion consensus target.
- WellPoint (WLP) reported a fourth-quarter profit of $1.16 a share, which excludes a $4.79 a share benefit from the sale of NextRx. Still, that was better than the average analyst target of $1.02 a share. Revenue was down from a year ago to $15.06 billion, slightly below the consensus target of $15.13 billion. For 2010, WellPoint said it should earn at least $6 a share, compared with the Thomson Reuters average estimate of $6.11 a share.
Wednesday's Early Headlines
- Fed Interest Rate Decision Due at 2:15 p.m. EST -- The Federal Open Market Committee is not expected to change its accommodative fed funds target rate of zero to 0.25% when the statement is released Wednesday afternoon. The FOMC meeting will be interesting, though, as it is the first since the 2010 voting rotation took effect. Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren, Cleveland Fed's Sandra Pianalto, St. Louis Fed's James Bullard and Kansas City Fed's Thomas Hoenig are now voting members for the year. Meanwhile, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is still awaiting approval from the Senate on his nomination for reappointment.
- Apple Product Announcement Expected -- The Apple (AAPL) - Get Report tablet is expected to finally land Wednesday after months of speculation about what the device will actually do and which wireless providers the tablet will be married to. The official unveiling is scheduled for 1 p.m. EST in San Francisco. TheStreet.com will be live blogging from the media event.
- Toyota Halts Sales of 8 U.S. Models -- Toyota (TM) - Get Report plans to halt sales of eight popular models in the U.S. that are involved in the recall for sticking gas pedals. Toyota said it would suspend sales of the Camry, the best-selling car in the U.S., the Rav4, Corolla and five others. The halt comes after Toyota last week recalled about 2.3 million vehicles in the U.S. to correct "sticking accelerator pedals." The recall was separate from a previous and ongoing recall of about 4.2 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles to fix acceleration problems caused by out of place floor mats. About 1.7 million cars were subject to both recall actions.
- Mortgage Applications Down, Rates Climb -- The Mortgage Bankers Association said its Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, dropped 10.9% on a seasonally adjusted basis last week. On an unadjusted basis, the index fell 10.1% for the week ended Jan.22. Meanwhile, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate rose to 5.02% last week from 5%, the MBA said
- Oracle Plans to Add 2,000 Workers -- Oracle (ORCL) - Get Report plans to add 2,000 sales and engineering employees as it draws nearer to closing its acquisition of Sun Microsystems, The Wall Street Journal reports. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, in an interview Tuesday with the paper, said his company's mission would change significantly following the closure of the Sun acquisition. Oracle's planned hiring will outnumber the cuts Oracle is making in Sun's headcount. "We are not cutting Sun to profitability," Ellison told the Journal. "We think that this business will be profitable immediately."
- Geithner and Obama Remarks, Economic Data on Tap -- At 10 a.m. EST, the Census Bureau will release new home sales data for December, which should show an increase to 368,000 units from 355,000 in November. At the same time, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will begin his testimony before the House Oversight Committee on American International Group (AIG) - Get Report. Wall Street will be also watching President Obama's State of the Union address, scheduled for 9 p.m. EST. The focus of Obama's comments should be centered around the weak U.S. labor market and his plans for job creation
-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston
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