NEW YORK (
) -- Here are the top stock market headlines for the morning of Wednesday, April 28, 2010.
Wednesday's Earnings Roundup
- Comcast (CMCSA) - Get Report posted a first-quarter profit of 31 cents a share, a penny better than the Thomson Reuters average estimate. Revenue was up nearly 10% to $9.2 billion, in line with consensus. Comcast said advertising revenue rose 23.5% in the quarter, although the company lost 82,000 video customers. Comcast said free cash flow increased by 38% to $1.89 billion.
- Sprint Nextel (S) - Get Report reported a first-quarter adjusted loss of 17 cents a share, matching the average analyst target. Revenue was down 1.5% to $8.09 billion, slightly above the $8.05-billion consensus mark. Sprint said it lost 75,000 net subscribers in the quarter.
- Dow Chemical (DOW) - Get Report notched a first-quarter adjusted profit of 43 cents a share, well above the average analyst target of 30 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters. Revenue jumped 48% from a year ago to $13.42 billion, also coming in above consensus.
- WellPoint (WLP) said it had a first-quarter adjusted profit of $1.95 a share, which was better than the consensus target of $1.67 a share. Revenue was down nearly 3% to $14.87 billion, although that was still better than analysts had expected. Looking ahead, WellPoint said it expects full-year earnings of at least $5.99 a share on revenue of $58.5 billion, compared with the Thomson Reuters average estimate for a profit of $6.14 a share on revenue of $58.84 billion.
- Medco Health Solutions (MHS) said it had an adjusted first-quarter profit of 73 cents a share, topping the Wall Street consensus forecast by a penny. Revenue was up 10% to $16.3 billion, also better than analysts had predicted. Looking ahead, Medco reaffirmed its full-year earnings guidance range of $3.28 to $3.38 a share, which is in line with consensus.
- Northrop Grumman (NOC) - Get Report said it had a first-quarter profit of $1.51 a share, which was better than the $1.32-a-share consensus target. Revenue was up 8.5% from a year ago to $8.61 billion, well above the average analyst target. For the full year, Northrop Grumman said it expects earnings of $5.75 to $6 a share, compared with estimate for a full-year profit of $5.84 a share.
- General Dynamics (GD) - Get Report reported a first-quarter profit of $1.54 a share, 3 cents better than the Thomson Reuters average estimate. Revenue was down 6.2% to $7.75 billion, below the $8.15 billion consensus target.
Wednesday's Early Headlines
- Fed Interest Rate Decision Due at 2:15 p.m. ET -- The Federal Open Market Committee, the policy-making arm of the Federal Reserve, will deliver its decision on interest rates at approximately 2:15 p.m. ET, concluding a two-day meeting. No change is expected to the target rate of zero to 0.25%, which hasn't been altered since it was established during a two-day meeting ended Dec. 16. However, market participants will once again be on watch to any change in the wording of the accompanying statement, most notably the "exceptionally low" and "extended period" terms.
- Goldman Sachs Set to Trade Higher After Washington Showdown -- Goldman Sachs (GS) - Get Report shares were indicated to open 1.6% higher Wednesday, one day after the firm's key executives received a scolding from Congressional members during testimony on Capitol Hill. On Tuesday, Goldman shares rose 0.7% while the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost nearly 2%. TheStreet's Dan Freed writes that the back and forth between Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein and six current and former executives was "largely unsatisfying, as supporters and haters of Goldman each found plenty to support the views."
- Greece Debt Woes Still in Spotlight -- Standard & Poor's cut its rating on Greece's debt Tuesday by a full step to BB+, or junk status. S&P also downgraded Portugal on Tuesday. The ratings agency said it has a negative outlook on both countries, an indication that further ratings downgrades may be in the offing. The yield on Greek bonds and credit-default swaps were on the rise while the euro fell against the dollar, as traders made bets that any bailout will come too late.
- Boeing Delays Shipment of Some 787 Parts -- Boeing (BA) - Get Report is delaying shipment of some fuselage parts of its 787 Dreamliner to its final assembly factory, the company said. A Boeing Commercial Airplanes spokeswoman told the Associated Press Tuesday that final assembly of the 787 is continuing at its Everett, Wash., plant and that the temporary delay won't affect work under way. Boeing remains on track to deliver the first 787 to a customer late this year, she told the AP.
- Sirius XM Avoids Nasdaq Delisting -- Sirius XM (SIRI) - Get Report was poised to trade higher Wednesday after the company said late Tuesday that it regained compliance with the Nasdaq's minimum bid price requirement, as the company's stock closed above the $1 mark for 10 consecutive sessions. Sirius XM also said that it will not need to consider a reverse stock split given the Nasdaq's compliance determination.
- Mortgage Applications Slide, Rates Rise -- The Mortgage Bankers Association said its Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased by a seasonally adjusted 2.9% last week. Refinancing applications fell 8.8% compared with the prior week, the survey showed, while purchase activity was up 7.4%. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate inched higher to 5.08% last week from 5.04% the previous week, the MBA said.
-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston
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