NEW YORK (
) -- Here are the top stock market headlines for the morning of Tuesday, August 25, 2009.
Tuesday's Early Headlines
- Bernanke Gets Second Tour of Duty. - President Obama is set to nominate Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke for a second term at 9 a.m. EDT during a press conference on Martha's Vineyard. Obama reportedly made the decision a month ago, and last week discussed the reappointment with Bernanke.
- SEC, BofA Defend Merrill Bonus Settlement. - The Securities and Exchange Commission and Bank of America (BAC) - Get Report late Monday defended the fairness of their proposed $33 million settlement over executive bonuses paid out by Merrill Lynch. In a court filing, BofA argued there "was no false or misleading statement or omission."
- GM's Opel Drama to Continue into September. - The Wall Street Journal late Monday reported that General Motors' management team will try to develop a $4.3 billion financing plan in an effort to keep control of its European Opel unit. GM CEO Fritz Henderson is supposed to have the plan done by early September, the report said. Bloomberg reported that Fred Irwin, the chairman of the German government-backed trust, said the sale of GM's Opel division is likely to be decided by the start of the Frankfurt Auto Show on Sept. 17, and that GM has "no interest" in keeping Opel and is working with Germany toward a "commercially reasonable solution."
- Apple CEO Focusing On New Tablet: Report. - The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple (AAPL) - Get Report CEO Steve Jobs has focused his attention into a new touch-screen tablet device the company is developing. Jobs has been closely involved in the product's advertising and marketing strategy, the report said, indicating the device could be released relatively soon.
- Judge Orders Fed to Release Loan Reports. - Bloomberg reports that a district judge has rejected arguments from the Federal Reserve that records about emergency lending to financial institutions public should be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. The report said the Fed has refused to name the borrowers, the amounts of loans or the assets put up as collateral under 11 programs, saying that doing so might set off a run by depositors and unsettle shareholders. Bloomberg sued Nov. 7 on behalf of its Bloomberg News unit.
- Yahoo! Buys Arab Online Portal Maktoob. - Yahoo! (YHOO) said Tuesday it reached an agreement to acquire Arab online community Maktoob.com. Maktoob has 16.5 million unique users, the companies said in a joint statement Tuesday. Maktoob can be accessed by users in countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Yahoo! said the acquisition would allow it to offer Arabic versions of Yahoo! Messenger and Yahoo! Mail services.
Tuesday's Earnings Roundup
- Staples (SPLS) reported second-quarter adjusted earnings of 16 cents a share, matching the Thomson Reuters average estimate. Sales climbed 9% from a year ago to $5.53 billion, in line with estimates. The company did not provide sales or earnings guidance for the current quarter, also Staples said it expects to incur expenses of $210 million to $235 million in the third quarter and $855 million to $905 million total in 2009.
- Medtronic (MDT) - Get Report posted a fiscal first-quarter adjusted profit of 79 cents a share, in line with consensus estimates. Revenue rose 6.1% to $3.93 billion, exceeding the average analyst target of $3.81 billion.
- Burger King (BKC) said it had fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of 43 cents a share, topping the Thomson Reuters average estimate of 33 cents a share. Sales slipped 2.4% from a year earlier to $629.9 million, falling short of the $632.4-million consensus. Burger King said it is not offering guidance for fiscal 2010 due to continuing consumer uncertainties. The company did say that, assuming no material impact from currency translation, it expects average annual worldwide comparable sales growth of 2 to 3%, and average annual earnings-per-share growth of 15%.
- Chico's FAS (CHS) - Get Report reported second-quarter adjusted earnings of 10 cents a share, matching the Thomson Reuters average estimate. Sales were up 3.6% from the year-ago quarter to $419.9 million, ahead of the $416.7-million consensus. Gross margin improved to 55% from 52.7% in the second quarter of 2008.
- Big Lots (BIG) - Get Report posted second-quarter adjusted earnings of 35 cents a share, a nickel better than Wall Street's consensus estimate. Revenue slipped 1.7% to $1.09 billion, in line with estimates. Big Lots offer in-line earnings guidance for the third quarter and fourth quarter on a per-share basis, and it raised its guidance for 2010.