NEW YORK (
) -- Here are the top stock market headlines for the morning of Tuesday, June 15, 2010.
Tuesday's Early Headlines
- Empire Manufacturing Index Rises; Import Prices Fall -- The New York Federal Reserve's Empire State manufacturing index climbed to a reading of 19.57 in June from 19.11 in May, although economists were looking for a bigger increase to a reading of 20. Meanwhile, the Labor Department said import prices fell 0.6% in May, the biggest decline in nearly a year, thanks to a 5% drop in petroleum costs.
- BP Rating Cut by Fitch -- Fitch Ratings cut its rating of BP (BP) - Get Report by six notches to triple-B from double-A Tuesday, citing much larger estimates for the severity of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. According to Fitch, the larger estimates for the spill "will materially increase BP's exposure to Justice Department fines payable in the near to medium-term." The firm also cited demands from lawmakers to set aside $20 billion for an escrow account to compensate for economic and environmental damages. BP is still at an investment-grade level, despite being just two notches above junk status now.
- Swiss Parliament OKs UBS Tax Deal -- The Swiss parliament on Tuesday approved a treaty with the United States that will hand thousands of files on suspected tax cheats to U.S. authorities, the Associated Press reports, as the Swiss government the threat of prosecution looming over UBS (UBS) - Get Report will end. A majority of 81 to 61 lawmakers in Switzerland's lower house voted in favor of the government-backed deal, and 53 abstained, the AP reports.
- Apple Begins Taking Preorders for iPhone 4 -- Apple (AAPL) - Get Report began taking preorders Tuesday for the new iPhone 4 handset, unveiled last week by CEO Steve Jobs at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference. Apple also quietly refreshed its Mac Mini computer, which sports a new design and faster graphics card.
- Capital One Says Credit Card Defaults Fall in May -- Capital One Financial (COF) - Get Report said its annualized net charge-off rate fell to 9.48% last month from 9.68% in April, a signal that consumers are facing less pressure. The delinquency rate slipped to 4.80% from 5.07% in April. Other credit-card issuers, including Bank of America (BAC) - Get Report, Discover Financial (DFS) - Get Report and American Express (AXP) - Get Report will post monthly card metrics later in the day.
Tuesday's Earnings Roundup
- Best Buy (BBY) - Get Report said it had a first-quarter profit of 36 cents a share on sales of $10.79 billion, disappointing analysts who expected, on average, a profit of 50 cents a share on revenue of $10.93 billion. Best Buy did reaffirm its full-year guidance, which calls for earnings in a range o $3.45 to $3.60 a share on revenue of $52 billion to $53 billion, which is in line with consensus estimates.
- Casey's General (CASY) - Get Report said it had fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of 51 cents a share, which excludes $6.9 million in legal fees related to the $1.9 billion hostile takeover bid from Canada's Alimentation Couche-Tard. Revenue in the quarter was up 33.6% to $1.18 billion, Casey's General said.
-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston
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