Durable Goods: Wednesday's Headlines

The Commerce Department said that orders for durable goods in the U.S. rose 2.9% in April.
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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Here are the top stock market headlines for the morning of Wednesday, May 26, 2010.

Wednesday's Early Headlines

  • Durable-Goods Orders Rise 2.9% in April -- The Commerce Department said Wednesday that orders for durable goods in the U.S. rose 2.9% last month, nearly doubling the consensus of economists for a 1.5% increase, according to Briefing.com. Transportation orders accounted for much of the overall gain. When transportation orders were stripped out, durable-goods orders fell 1% for the month.
  • BP's Top Kill Could Take Two Days -- BP (BP) - Get Report said Wednesday it is testing to determine if the so-called top kill procedure to plug the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico can be successfully executed. "This top kill procedure has not been carried out offshore at 5,000 feet water depth before, and its success cannot be assured," BP said in a statement. BP said it expects the procedure could take up to two days, and it can't predict how long it will take to determine if the operation was successful.
  • Apple Faces U.S. Scrutiny Over Digital Music -- Apple (AAPL) - Get Report may face an antitrust inquiry from the Justice Department because of its tactics in the market for digital music, The New York Times reports, citing several people briefed on the conversations. Investigators had asked specifically about recent allegations that Apple used its dominant market position to persuade music labels to refuse to give Amazon.com (AMZN) - Get Report exclusive access to music about to be released, people briefed on the Justice Department inquiries told the Times.
  • Qatar Eyes Treasury's Citigroup Stock -- Sovereign wealth fund the Qatar Investment Authority has expressed interest in buying part of the U.S. Treasury's stake in Citigroup (C) - Get Report, The Financial Times reports, citing people familiar with the matter. The QIA's interest in Citigroup could potentially boosting efforts to sell the shares amid the global rout in banking stocks, as other cash-rich state funds are shying away from banks, often because of big losses on such investments in the past, the FT reports.
  • OECD Lifts Economic Outlook -- The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development lifted its economic forecasts for Japan, the United States and the eurozone countries, but Japan and the U.S. are still expected to outpace Europe, the report said, according to The Associated Press. "The outlook has really improved in this short period" since the OECD's last forecast, the report said, although the watchdog organization warned that member countries need to pursue "fiscal consolidation" by reducing deficits. "The period of significant financial instability that began in August 2007 is not yet over," the OECD added in its report.
  • Purchasing Applications Fall to 13-Year Low Even as Rates Slide -- The Mortgage Bankers Association said its Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, rose a seasonally adjusted 11.3% last week, as refinancing applications jumped 17% from the prior. On the other hand, purchasing applications fell 3.3% compared with the previous week, the survey showed, the lowest level in more than 13 years. The data continue to suggest that the debt crises in Europe extended the opportunity for homeowners to lock in at historically low mortgage rates, Michael Fratantoni, MBA's Vice President of Research and Economics, said in a statement. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate fell to 4.80% last week from 4.83% the previous week, the MBA said.
  • T-Mobile USA CEO Steps Down -- T-Mobile USA, a unit of Deutsche Telekom (DT) - Get Report, said Wednesday that President and CEO Robert Dotson will step down next year. Philipp Humm, a former CEO of T-Mobile Deutschland, will be Dotson's successor. Humm is currently responsible for sales and service in Europe as chief regional officer. Humm will take over as CEO of T-Mobile USA in February, the company said in a press release.

Wednesday's Earnings Roundup

  • Toll Brothers (TOL) - Get Report said it had a second-quarter loss of 24 cents a share, a penny worse than the Thomson Reuters average estimate. Revenue fell 22% from a year ago to $311.3 million, below the $321.9 million consensus.
  • Zale (ZLC) reported a fiscal third-quarter adjusted loss of 76 cents a share on sales of $360 million, compared to estimates Zale would report a loss of 95 cents a share on revenue of $354.1 million.
  • Solarfun Power Holdings (SOLF) posted a first-quarter profit of 40 cents a share on revenue of $216.2 million, above the consensus target for a profit of 19 cents a share on revenue of $191.7 million.
  • American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) - Get Report notched a first-quarter adjusted profit of 17 cents a share on sales of $659.5 million, compared with the Thomson Reuters average estimate for a profit of 17 cents a share on revenue of $656.3 million. Looking ahead, American Eagle offered weaker-than-expected earnings guidance for the second quarter.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston

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