Updated from 5:11 p.m. EST
Next Up, Kraft
(At 5:48 p.m. EST)
awful following the close
, but in regular trading the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
had a positive day, climbing 141.53 points, or 1.8%, to 8078.36. That broke a string of three straight losses.
On Wednesday, earnings are expected from Dow component
ahead of the open. Disney, though, threatens to be a drag on the index once the session begins.
Not a Lot to Like Here
(At 5:01 p.m. EST)
Disney shares were getting taken apart after the close of trading Tuesday, plunging 10.2% to $18.51. What's the problem? Earnings, specifically the decline in them.
Net income for the fiscal first quarter slid 32% year over year and earnings per share dropped to 45 cents from 63 cents, falling short of expectations. Revenue was down 8% to $9.6 billion and was weaker at all three of the biggest divisions -- media networks, parks and resorts and studio entertainment.
Consumer-products revenue grew 18%, but operating income for the segment fell 8%.
(At 4:18 p.m. EST)
Preliminary closing numbers showed the Dow Jones Industrial Average up almost 142 points, or 1.8%, at 8078 on the day.
was the best percentage gainer, rising 6.4% to $30.24, on the heels of its quarterly report and outlook.
rose more than 4% each.
Seven stocks fell, and 23 rose. Among the decliners,
was the worst stock, losing 11.7% to $5.30, and was again the most heavily traded.
This Is Really Getting Ridiculous
(At 2:34 p.m. EST)
. Just horrible. But is anyone really surprised? The automaker said U.S. dealers delivered 129,227 vehicles in January, down 49% from a year ago. Fleet sales plunged 80% to the lowest point since 1975. Retail sales sank 38%.
Reading the GM press release on its performance in the first month of the year, combined with the numbers from other carmakers (
, for instance, had a 40% drop), it's hard not to go along with those who have already written Detroit's obituary.
Here are some grim details. January car sales of 43,943 were down 58% on the year. Truck sales slid 42% to 85,284. GM North America produced 65,000 vehicles in the month, a 78% decrease, including just 6,000 cars. In January 2008, North America built 297,000 vehicles. For the first quarter, the region is projected to produce 380,000 vehicles -- 57% below last year. Demand? At all?
That's plenty ugly, but there were actually a handful of positives, even if they were on the minor side. Retail market share held steady with December at above 21%. Chevrolet's crossovers, the HHR, Equinox and Traverse, had 11,666 retail sales units, a 10% increase from last year, and inventories dropped. At the end of January, only about 801,000 vehicles were in stock, down around 11% from a year earlier.
To answer the question posed up above, apparently no one is surprised. Shares of GM were actually doing better following the report than they were before the numbers were released. Just after the open, GM was down almost 8%. Lately, it was off 4.5%. Not sure what goes on there. $2.89 is too rich, but $2.65 is significantly undervalued, perhaps? Sales were only down about 50% let's go long here?
Personally, I'm pulling for the U.S. auto industry to get things turned around, but it's getting harder and harder to be optimistic.
Citi's Ready to Play Ball?
(At 11:11 a.m. EST)
The New York Mets have successfully inked a new three-year pact with pitcher Oliver Perez, but closing the deal with
might no longer be a guarantee.
The Wall Street Journal
says the bank is
from its $400 million marketing plan with the Mets, an agreement that includes naming the team's new stadium Citi Field.
, that's an idea with merit.
As an aside, Congressmen Dennis Kucinich and Ted Poe aren't the only ones who are
by the whole thing.
All's Well in Whitehouse Station, N.J.
(At 10:10 a.m. EST)
What do you know. Good news is good news today, at least for one stock. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was overall slightly lower in the early going Tuesday, but one component was off to a great start -- Merck.
The drugmaker was the best performer just after the open, gaining 3.7% to $29.49, an advance that came after the company posted better-than-expected
of 87 cents a share and affirmed its forecast for 2009. Fellow pharmaceutical seller
was up 0.7%.
Following the close, another Dow company will be out with earnings when Disney reports. Ahead of the numbers,
was down 1.3% to $19.94.
About 30 minutes into the session, 11 stocks were up and 19 were down. General Motors had the worst of it, falling 7.6% to $2.67.
Speaking of GM ... .
Cash Is King. Car Vouchers Aren't
(At 9:19 a.m. EST)
The following scenario is probably playing out right now in various GM plants:
One GM worker to another GM worker: "Sure wish we worked at
According to reports, both companies are offering
to employees in their continuing bids to cut costs. In order to get workers to walk away or retire, GM will reportedly offer U.S. hourly workers $20,000 in cash and a $25,000 voucher to purchase a vehicle.
Chrysler, though, is being even more generous, saying it will give retirement-eligible employees $50,000 in cash and a $25,000 new-car voucher. Opt out of retiree health benefits and that amount goes to $75,000, plus the vehicle voucher.
Look, nobody wants to be put out of work on pretty much any terms, but it's not much of a stretch to think that most folks would rather have $50,000 and a car voucher than $20,000 and a car voucher. If I worked at GM, I'd gladly surrender the voucher altogether and angle for the $25,000 in cash. A new car might be nice for now, but in six months it's not going to help pay the mortgage.
At any rate, stay tuned throughout the day, because GM and Chrysler, along with Ford,
and the rest of the carmakers will report their January sales.
Expectations are that the numbers will be pretty ugly. Again.