Updated from 5:34 p.m. EST
H-P Losing More Ground
(At 6:32 p.m. EST)
Just when I thought I was done for the night. I have to quickly add this, because it might be more of a negative Thursday than I originally thought. The situation with
has continued to deteriorate, and the stock is now down 6.3% in the extended session to $31.92.
As for other technology components of the
, are also trading lower. IBM was the weakest, giving back 1.7%.
Back Where We Started
(At 5 p.m. EST)
finished Wednesday essentially where it started, tacking on 3.03 points to go out at 7555.63. After the nearly
last time, let's not complain too much.
When the closing bell rang, 12 stocks had gains and 18 were lower.
was again the leader, up 3.7% to $50. Volume was strong, too, at nearly twice the daily average for the world's largest retail chain.
Procter & Gamble
followed with a 1.7% advance.
The worst stocks were laggards we've seen before.
Bank of America
was down 6.7%,
was off 5.5%, and
was weaker by 4.9%.
While it was just a slight gain, the move higher did end a string of three straight losses for the Dow. After the close though, one its components came out with disappointing news that sent its shares lower. The company in question was
The tech giant had fiscal first-quarter adjusted earnings of 93 cents a share, matching the consensus estimate, but revenue of $28.8 billion was some $3 billion short of expectations. For the second quarter, H-P predicted earnings, before items, of 84 cents to 86 cents a share, whereas analysts are calling for 89 cents. The full-year profit should be $3.76 to $3.88, the company said, which compares favorably to the $3.77 Wall Street target.
However, as was the case with the first quarter, H-P's top line projections look to be light. Shares were down 3.6% in late trading to $32.85, following a 0.8% decrease in the regular session. Won't be a surprise then if H-P's a bit of a drag on the Dow Thursday.
Updated from 11:06 a.m. EST
Hovering Near the Unchanged Mark
(At 12:50 p.m. EST)
has improved at midsession and is now right at the flat line. Of the 30 stocks, 13 are up and 17 are down.
were the best performers, adding about 2.5% each.
Bank of America
were the worst components, losing more than 3%.
Watchers of Warren Buffett know that among his holdings are several Dow stocks, including
Procter & Gamble
Johnson & Johnson
. We wrote a short item about
a day ago.
I'm all about getting you to read everything on the site, so please click the above link. After you do that, I would strongly encourage you to check out two more articles, Jim Cramer's piece called
and from Doug Kass an item titled
. Great stuff on the Nebraska-based billionaire.
While I'm in site-promotion mode, also take a look at this story on
. Gary Krakow, who's in Barcelona covering the
, says 4G cell-phone service for the U.S. might turn into reality in the not-too-distant future.
I guess I don't want to be a complete homer, so I'll point you to an interesting article on
about some things
might think about doing with its stash of cash.
Elsewhere, we had some news on
, as a report emerged that the company would open around
in three years. Just a few days ago,
said the burger seller is planning 175 new restaurants in China in 2009.
Now here's an item that might make shareholders of
feel just a little bit better. CEO
declined his bonus for last year, with the drop in the stock price factoring heavily into the decision. So far this year, the stock has fallen by about one-third following a rough 2008.
Over at P&G though, chief A.G. Lafley got a nice additional payment -- a $3.5 million equity award for his steering of the Gillette acquisition.
(At 10:27 a.m. EST)
About an hour into the trading session Wednesday, the
was slightly lower, down 41 points at 7511. That put the index under the Nov. 20 level that marked its lowest point in more than five years.
Only five of the 30 components were higher, and one of those was
, up 1% at $2.20. Since GM was the worst
on Tuesday, the stability was good to see. Still, we're talking about a stock that's some 90% below its 52-week high, so it's hard to get too excited.
We know now that GM could need around
, give or take, in aid from the government. Fine, if we want to save the carmakers, save the carmakers. What's lousy is that in order to prove it will remain viable, GM has to keep lowering costs, and part of that means cutting jobs.
GM says it will eliminate another 47,000 employees around the world, about one-fifth of its total workforce, including roughly 19,000 in the U.S. I thought we were trying to preserve and create jobs here. Wasn't that one of President Obama's key promises during the campaign? Instead we're getting what to me amounts to GM telling the government, "We'll put a few more thousand people on the street if you'll send several billion our way."
Of course the thinking is that if GM is allowed to vanish, the job losses would be much worse. According to some estimates north of 1 million workers out there are directly and indirectly tied to the company. Maybe there's no choice, but it sure is a shame if it has to happen this way.
Ted Reed noted in his coverage of the GM plan that CEO Richard Wagoner believes President Obama will be receptive to the carmaker's proposals. Why's that exactly? "The role the auto industry plays, it's a powerful job creator," Wagoner said.
Used to be anyway. Let's hope it can be again.